Scotia Reintroduction Program
AWC is undertaking one of the world’s most ambitious biodiversity reconstruction projects at Scotia Sanctuary: the re-introduction of 6 threatened mammal species into the wild, including the Woylie, the Bilby, the Numbat, the Bridled Nailtail Wallaby, the Boodie and the Stick-nest Rat.
Scotia one of the most important sites in Australia for the conservation of our endangered mammals. In addition to the reintroduction of six of Australia’s rarest mammals, there are 21 threatened animal species further 17 species of conservation concern at the State or regional level that find refuge on Scotia. This represents one of the highest concentrations of threatened wildlife in semi-arid Australia.
Across most of Australia, almost all medium-sized mammal species in the far west of NSW are extinct. The incredible diversity of species ranging from the large red kangaroo through to small carnivorous marsupials such as the common dunnart. Two threatened species, Bolam’s Mouse and Southern Ningaui, have also been recorded.
Help protect these animals from extinction
The Numbat was once found across most of southern Australia, including western NSW. However, the arrival of the European Red Fox decimated the Numbat population and the last specimen in NSW was collected in 1900. By, the 1970’s the Numbat survived only in the southwestern corner of WA. In NSW, the Numbat is listed as ‘extinct in the wild’. However, a small population has been reintroduced to Scotia and is now well established. This beautiful animal is a termite eating specialist requiring timbered areas to supply food and hollow logs for shelter. The Numbat is one of the few Australian mammals active during the day.
The Bilby once occurred throughout much of Australia but is now confined to isolated desert areas. Like most medium-sized ground-dwelling mammals it is extremely vulnerable to predation from foxes and cats.
A type of bandicoot, the Bilby is omnivorous, feeding on insects, seeds, bulbs and fungi. Its strong forelimbs are used to dig burrows for shelter. There are two forms of the Bilby, the western Bilby and the much rarer Queensland or eastern Bilby. The Queensland Bilby, which once lived in NSW, has been reintroduced to Scotia.
Boodie (Burrowing Bettong)
Once numbered in their millions across southern Australia, the Boodie is now extinct in the wild on mainland Australia, occurring only on islands off the Western Australian coast, where foxes and feral cats do not occur, or within feral proof enclosures. AWC has introduced Boodies to Scotia and our world heritage-listed Faure Island in Shark Bay. The Boodie is the only small kangaroo to live in a network of underground burrows.
Bridled Nailtail Wallaby
The elegant Bridled Nailtail Wallaby is named after the horny 3-6 mm spur on the end of its tail and the white ‘bridle’ markings on its neck and shoulders. These wallabies are generally solitary, nocturnal animals, but may feed in groups of up to 4 when food is in short supply. They once ranged from northern Victoria, throughout NSW and deep into the semi-arid inland of Queensland.
Competition from the pastoral industry, among other reasons, saw it decline rapidly. By the 1960’s they were presumed extinct until rediscovered near Dingo in central Queensland in 1973. AWC reintroduced this species to Scotia in December, 2004.
Mala (Rufous Hare-wallaby)
The Rufous Hare-wallaby, is considered one of the ‘true’ hare-wallabies and receives its name from its hare-like size and the rufous colour of its long, soft fur. Mala once inhabited much of the western half of Australia. By the 1980’s only two small populations remained in the Tanami Desert, NT, until one population was destroyed by a fox in 1987 and the other by wildfire in 1991.
The Mala is now listed as extinct in the wild. Of the 500 Mala surviving in captivity, 30 are protected at Scotia.
Wopilkara (Greater Stick-nest Rat)
Wopilkaras are native rodents that once inhabited the chenopod shrublands of southern Australia. Their large communal nests, constructed of branches, can stand up to a metre high. They declined rapidly with European settlement and were extinct on the mainland by the 1930s. Their gentle nature makes them easy targets for predators such as foxes and feral cats, as well as Barn Owls, Goannas and larger snakes. Despite the failure of a number of other previous attempts at mainland reintroductions, AWC is successfully reintroducing the Wopilkara to its Faure Island and Scotia Wildlife Sanctuaries.