Saving WA’s threatened fauna from extinction

[March 2013]

A number of Western Australia’s threatened fauna species are being assisted by a Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) project funded by the State NRM office entitled the ‘Threatened Fauna Ark’ project.

The fauna species at the focus of the project are constantly under threat from feral predators, a loss of their natural habitat and a decline in the quality of their habitat.

The project aimed to either reduce the impact of feral predators in existing habitat, or to establish sustainable new populations in areas where the threat from predators was controlled.

The bilby, Shark Bay mouse, Gilbert’s potoroo, red-tailed phascogale, malleefowl and white-bellied frog are some of the species that benefited from this project.

At Lagoon Point in the Francois Peron National Park at Shark Bay, four kilometres of cat-proof fencing were erected. Built to protect the area from feral predators, the fence created a protected 1400 hectare mainland ‘island’ within the national park.

A main aim of the project was to re-establish identified threatened and priority fauna species at selected sites across Western Australia.  This was undertaken for woylies, tammar wallabies and dibblers, to name a few.

An emergency conservation initiative was also undertaken to protect one of the world's rarest birds, the western ground parrot.  Conservation efforts included an aerial cat baiting program in the parrots’ last remaining habitat and the construction of a purpose built captive management facility.

Department of Environment and Conservation Principle Zoologist Dr Manda Page said she was pleased with the progress of the project.

“We are delighted with the successes associated with the project and the positive outcomes for a number of threatened and priority fauna.

“We have translocated a number of threatened fauna species, some for the first time on record, including three species of frogs which don’t always get the attention that mammals get.

“We couldn’t have achieved such success without the support of the many partner agencies and community organisations involved in the project,” she said.

Other organisations involved in the fauna conservation project include Perth Zoo, Wagin-Woodanilling Landcare Group, Wadderin Sanctuary, Australian Wildlife Conservancy, Bush Heritage, Native Animal Rescue, Kanyana Wildlie Rehabilitation, Whiteman Park, Yongergnow Malleefowl Centre, BirdLife Australia, Murdoch University, Chidlow Marsupial Hospital, Land for Wildlife, Friends of Western Ground Parrots and other government departments.

Images ©DEC - Top: Tammar wallaby being released | Bottom: Red-tailed phascogale being released