Booderee National Park will be celebrating Threatened Species Day tomorrow (7 September) by welcoming the return of locally extinct mammals.
Long-nosed potoroos and southern brown bandicoots have already been reintroduced to Booderee after being locally extinct for up to a century, and now preparations are underway to welcome a third threatened species back to the park.
Long nosed-potoroo, Photo: Parks Australia
The eastern quoll, not seen in the Jervis Bay region since the 1930s, is anticipated to make its return to Booderee next year.
These inspiring steps toward rebalancing the natural biodiversity of the park were made possible due to the park’s highly successful fox control program.
Booderee National Park Natural Resource Manager Dr Nick Dexter said this was an exciting time for those working on getting these species back to the region.
“It’s extremely rewarding to have the chance to bring these beautiful little native mammals back to Booderee,” Dr Dexter said. “These species were once a common part of this area’s biodiversity before the introduction of feral pests like foxes.
“After years of fox control at Booderee, it’s now possible to reintroduce these threatened species. We’ve reintroduced long-nosed potoroos and southern brown bandicoots and we’ve just been given the go ahead to translocate eastern quolls to the park.”
It’s hoped the first quoll reintroductions will take place in 2018 with 20 quolls to be released into the park.
The release of a Southern Brown Bandicoot at Booderee National Park, Photo Natasha Robinson
Once released scientists from the Threatened Species Recovery Hub of the National Environmental Science Programme, who are already monitoring the reintroduction of potoroos and bandicoots at Booderee National Park, will play a key role in tracking the eastern quolls.
The scientists have been working with park managers to check the ongoing health and breeding of species returning to Booderee.
A Southern Brown Bandicoot at Booderee National Park. Photo: Parks Australia
Australian National University researcher Dr Natasha Robinson, who works in partnership with the Threatened Species Hub, said the monitoring had confirmed that the long-nosed potoroos and southern brown bandicoots translocated to the park in the past two years were healthy and breeding.
“We’ve been working closely with Parks Australia for many years and it’s helped Booderee to become recognised as one of Australia’s best managed and monitored protected areas,” Dr Robinson said.
“It’s also provided key information about where we release these species into Booderee. The radio tracking we did on bandicoots released in 2016 showed they preferred heath and woodland to forested areas so we used that information the following year to release them in their preferred habitats.”
These small-mammal translocations are broad collaborations involving Parks Australia, the Australian National University, Taronga Zoo, Forestry Corporation of NSW, Rewilding Australia, WWF-Australia and the Australian Government’s National Environmental Science Programme.
Booderee National Park is located on the NSW south coast in Jervis Bay. It is jointly managed by the Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community Council and Parks Australia.
Top image: Eastern Quoll, Photo: Rewilding Australia
We are receiving an additional $2 million to deliver science to support wildlife and habitat recovery efforts following Australia’s bushfire crisis. The rapid rollout of work now faces the added and acute challenge of COVID-19.
Predation by cats is a key threat to at least 123 threatened species in Australia. Better understanding and reducing the impact of feral cats on susceptible wildlife has been a major area of research for the hub.
One of the post-fire challenges to population recovery that many native species will face is increased risk of predation, including by introduced foxes and cats.
Chief Science Officer John Kanowski and Regional Ecologist SW Michael Smith from the Australian Wildlife Conservancy discuss the far-reaching work their team is doing to protect vulnerable mammals from introduced predators.
Oliver Tester from the Office of the Threatened Species Commissioner tells us about the Australian Government’s action on feral cats.