More than 20 hare-wallabies have been released onto Dirk Hartog Island, the State’s biggest island, as part of a trial to help improve their conservation status.
A total of 12 banded hare-wallabies and 12 rufous hare-wallabies were captured by staff from the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions from nearby Bernier and Dorre islands. They were released in the southern part of Dirk Hartog Island National Park following intensive baiting, trapping and monitoring of feral cats over the past three years.
The translocation is part of stage one of the Dirk Hartog Island National Park Ecological Restoration Project (Return to 1616).
Stage two of the project will see the reintroduction of 10 mammal and one bird species, as well as the introduction of another two mammal species over the next 12 years.
The initiative is one of Australia’s most ambitious fauna restoration projects and complements the department’s Western Shield wildlife conservation program, which aims to protect existing populations and return native animals to selected areas of the State.
Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said:
“Dirk Hartog Island is almost 63,000 hectares, which means it would be the largest island in the world to have either goats or feral cats completely eradicated, a massive feat, and one which has taken years of planning and dedication.
“There have been significant efforts to rid the island of feral predators, with no sightings of feral cats for nearly a year, which is a great sign because the re-establishment of a species such as the hare-wallabies would not be possible without the complete removal of feral cats.
“We remain confident that by 2030, the island will be a safe haven for some of the country’s most threatened species, cementing its place in Australia’s environmental history and future.”