New South Wales Minister for Environment Matt Kean
New South Wales Bilbies Coming Back From Extinction Under Government Program
Victor P Taffa
Minister for Environment Matt Kean announced the first ever release of bilbies into Mallee Cliffs National Park in the State’s far south-west, in an historic move which is expected to boost the world population of bilbies by more than 10 %.
New South Wales Government has been working with the Australian Wildlife Conservancy over the past 3 years to plan and prepare a 9,570-ha enclosure for bilbies and 9 other native mammals that are listed as extinct in New South Wales to roam, free from predation by cats and foxes.
Minister Kean said feral cats are one of the biggest threats to our native animals, killing about 3.1 Million mammals in Australia every year.
“Bilbies are a loved and iconic Australian animal that has been extinct in the wild in New South Wales for over 100 years. We have an opportunity to bring them back to New South Wales national parks by using special fenced off areas and it’s important we do this.” Minister Kean said.
“Through the New South Wales Government’s Saving Our Species program, this release is the first of many at Mallee Cliffs National Park that sees us turning around the extinction rates for our native animals.” Minister Kean said.
AWC Chief Executive Officer, Tim Allard said the construction of the large feral predator-free fenced area was one of the only ways to secure the future of many of Australia’s most threatened mammal species.
“Without the threat of introduced predators, we expect the animals to flourish at Mallee Cliffs and the landscape to regenerate to how it was before European settlement and the introduction of cats, foxes and grazing animals which have devastated our native animals and their habitat.” Mr. Allard said.
“By the end of this project, visiting Mallee Cliffs will be like venturing into nature’s time capsule.”
“We are proud to be partnering with the New South Wales Government to ensure the future of native animals in New South Wales.” Mr. Allard said.