Theme 4.00

Reintroductions and refugia

Species close to extinction require special effort in the hope that new opportunities to deal with threats in the wild may emerge and increase their chances of survival.

Intensive management of threatened species involving zoos, fenced enclosures, nest boxes, translocation of individuals and quarantine from disease is expensive. Research is urgently needed to improve the cost-effectiveness of conservation interventions.

This theme will focus on: 

  • 4.1 Translocation, reintroduction and conservation fencing for threatened fauna 
  • 4.2 Saving species on Australian islands 
  • 4.3 Increased security of threatened plants through translocation 
  • 4.4 Improved management of refugia in the landscape
Related Projects

Translocation, reintroduction and conservation fencing for threatened fauna

Project: 4.1
Whether moving species into fenced areas, intensively managed habitats or outside its previous habitat - translocating threatened species presents a number of challenges.

This project will research the most feasible and cost-effective translocation strategies to boost the size and long-term viability of wild populations. This will include improved planning for, and implementation of, translocations of mammals, birds, reptiles and frogs.

Learning from mammal translocations

Project: 4.1.3
Australian Wildlife Conservancy is undertaking a major project to re-establish populations of 10 regionally-extinct mammals, including nine threatened species, at Mt Gibson Wildlife Sanctuary, Western Australia. The reintroductions will integrate monitoring and research activities in order to improve the conduct of future reintroductions in Australia.

Assisted colonisation of Australia’s rarest reptile: The western swamp turtle

Project: 4.1.4.2
One of Australia’s rarest reptiles, the western swamp turtle, is being challenged by the rapidly drying climate in the southwest of Western Australia, which continues to marginalise its already fragmented habitat. In a world first, this project is field-testing the viability of introducing this Critically Endangered species to wetlands more than 300km south of its native range, in an effort to mitigate the negative impacts of climate change.

Improving conservation outcomes for critically endangered white-bellied frogs

Project: 4.1.4.3
White-bellied frogs are a critically endangered species that are endemic to the Margaret River region of Western Australia. The species has undergone continued population declines, despite careful management. This project will target knowledge gaps around factors contributing to population declines, as well as better resolve the specific habitat and hydrological requirements of this species.

Can assisted gene flow increase the resilience of terrestrial-breeding frogs to a drying climate?

Project: 4.1.6.1
Assisted gene flow is an emerging method to aid species to adapt to new conditions, such as those created by climate change. It involves the movement of individuals (or their genes) from one population to another. This project will investigate whether assisted gene flow could enhance the resilience of two species of non-threatened amphibians from the south-west of Australia to increasingly dry conditions.

Enhancing ecosystem function by reintroductions of digging mammals

Project: 4.1.7
Many of Australia’s threatened species, such as bettongs and bandicoots, are considered ecosystem engineers due to the important functional role they provide in landscapes. Digging mammals can substantially influence ecosystem processes, such as soil turnover, litter decomposition and plant recruitment, by creating burrows for shelter or foraging pits when searching for food.

Saving species on Australian islands

Project: 4.2
This project will help shape on-ground actions on Australian islands – which are havens for threatened species. It will develop information to more effectively protect Australia’s island biodiversity and create safe refuges for species at risk.

Protecting threatened quolls and other biodiversity on Kimberley islands from cane toads

Project: 4.2.5
This research will use existing data to predict future invasion by cane toads of Australian islands, particularly the Kimberley islands. This information is important for prioritizing surveillance action on these islands in order to conserve toad-sensitive species such as the endangered Northern Quoll.

Threatened plant translocations

Project: 4.3
Translocations are being increasingly used in threatened plant recovery programs. The outcomes of past translocation programs have often been poorly documented or unpublished. This makes it hard to learn from the past experiences, to adapt and improve techniques in response to outcomes or to determine if investments have been worthwhile.

Identifying and managing refuges from threats

Project: 4.4
Refuges are important to many species, as they allow many species to survive environmentally stressful times, like droughts, fires and disease outbreaks. While fixed refuges like mountain tops can be easy to identify, many species rely on temporary refuges which move in time and space.