Greater Bilby And Golden Bandicoot To Be Re-introduced Into Sturt National Park

Greater Bilby And Golden Bandicoot To Be Re-introduced Into Sturt National Park

New South Wales Minister for Environment Matt Kean

Feral-Free Homes For Bilbies And Bandicoots

Victor P Taffa

Small mammals like the Greater Bilby and the Golden Bandicoot will soon be re-introduced to Sturt National Park for the first time in more than 90 years.

Minister for Environment Matt Kean said one of Australia’s largest predator-proof zones has now been created in the north west of New South Wales, offering protection to vulnerable native animals.

“There are many native animals that we haven’t seen in this area in decades because they’ve been killed off by feral foxes and cats.” Minister Kean said.

“This new feral-free zone is great news because we now have 40 sqkm in the Sturt National Park which will be a safe haven for many native mammal populations.”

“Over time, we’ll be able to return Greater Bilbies, Burrowing Bettongs, two types of Bandicoots, Western Quolls, Greater Stick-nest Rats and Crest-tailed Mulgaras to their original homes, without the threat of feral animal predators.” Minister Kean said.

UNSW Wild Deserts team was contracted to establish the feral-free zone in the Sturt National Park as part of the Government’s Saving our Species program, which has committed $42 Million to reintroduce locally extinct species in western New South Wales.

After constructing almost 40 km of specialised feral-proof fencing in 2018, Wild Deserts has now completed the mammoth task of eradicating every rabbit, cat and fox from the enclosures.

“Like much of the country, the Sturt National Park has received less than 100 mm of rain in the past 2 years, the driest conditions since rainfall records began.” Wild Deserts team leader Professor Richard Kingsford said.

“We now have to wait for some rain before releasing these 7 mammal species into the sanctuaries so there’s enough food to support them.”

Bilbies, some of which are being bred by the Taronga Conservation Society Australia, will be the first animals to be set free in their new home.

“I’m incredibly proud of our wildlife team who are breeding resilient, genetically suitable bilbies that will contribute to the success of this program.” Taronga CEO Cameron Kerr said.

Australian Wildlife Conservancy is also working on a project to release locally-extinct mammals including the Greater Bilby into feral-free areas in the Mallee Cliffs National Park and Pilliga State Conservation Area.

Abbreviations:

UNSW            University of New South Wales