Australian Wildlife Conservancy

Scotia Sanctuary - Wildlife

Bridled Nailtail Wallaby
Bridled Nailtail Wallaby – Scotia Sanctuary

Since European settlement western New South Wales has lost 27 of the 71 species that were present in 1788. If bats are not included in the figures, then 47% (27 of 57 species) of the mammal fauna of western New South Wales is now regionally extinct. Of the 30 remaining species, nine have declined in distribution.

Extinctions are not randomly distributed among the fauna, the majority of species lost are either rodents, smaller macropods, bandicoots or larger dasyurids, and all occur within what has become known as the Critical Weight Range (35 grams to 5.5 kg).

The Scotia Endangered Species Recovery Project (SESRP) seeks to reintroduce a significant proportion of these species, both as a contribution to national recovery efforts, and to reconstruct, to the extent that this is possible, the biodiversity of south western New South Wales. SESRP aims to establish wild, self-sustaining populations of these species on Scotia and, in the longer term, throughout the area.

By 2008, AWC had established self-sustaining populations of at least seven species previously regionally extinct. Six threatened species have already been reintroduced including: Numbats (Vulnerable); Greater Bilbies (Vulnerable); Burrowing Bettong or Boodie (Vulnerable); Brush-tailed Bettongs or Woylies (Critically Endangered); Bridled Nailtail Wallabies (Endangered) and Greater Stick-nest rat (Vulnerable).

Surveys in 2010, show that the Numbat, Bilby, Bridled Nailtail Wallaby and Greater Stick-nest Rat populations have increased to carrying capacity.  The Boodie population continues to increase, while the Woylie population in Stage 1 is slowly senescing to local extinction.  Fortunately, AWC reintroduced a separate population of Woylies to Stage 2 in 2008 and, in the absence of competition with Boodies, these Woylies are rapidly increasing in number.  

As of January 2010, AWC had carried out over 10,000 cage trap-nights, 2,000 pitfall trap-nights, 1,700 funnel trap-nights, 150 bird surveys, 1,000 km of Black-eared Miner call-back surveys, bat surveys using harp traps and ANABAT echolocation technology, several site-based vegetation surveys, and collected dozens of plant specimens. Today, Scotia is known to support 225 species of native wildlife; 25 mammals, 148 birds, 50 reptiles and two species of frogs.

Scotia protects 12 nationally listed threatened fauna species and 38 species listed as threatened in NSW.  In addition to this impressive list, Scotia conserves numerous species that are of regional conservation significance or that are only found in the Western Division of NSW.