Endangered mammals airlifted to new refuge
May 2011: In an historic cross-border operation led by scientists at the Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC), 39 endangered Greater Stick-nest Rats have been airlifted from a remote island off the South Australian coast to their new home at Mt Gibson Wildlife Sanctuary, about 350 kilometres north-east of Perth.
After landing on Friday afternoon, the Stick-nest Rats were released into a purpose built feral-free enclosure at AWC's Mt Gibson Wildlife Sanctuary, a 130,000 hectare property on the edge of the wheatbelt.
Once widespread across Australia, the Greater Stick-nest Rat disappeared from the mainland in the 1930’s, primarily as a result of predation by foxes and feral cats. Listed as threatened under Federal legislation, the only remaining natural population is in the Franklin Islands off South Australia.
The Stick-nest Rat translocation is the first step in a project to establish the largest feral-predator free area in Western Australia, with plans for an area of up to 8,000 hectares at Mt Gibson to be surrounded by a fox and cat-free fence. Around 10 endangered mammals are set to be re-introduced including the Numbat, the Woylie and the Bilby.