Historic return to mainland Australia for one of our rarest kangaroo species
- Mt Gibson
- Field Programs
- Wildlife translocations | Science: surveys and research
- Banded Hare-wallaby
October 2017: One of our most endangered kangaroo species, the Banded Hare-wallaby, has made a historic return to mainland Australia, more than 100 years after the last wild colony disappeared as a result of foxes and cats.
60 Banded Hare-wallabies - 27 males and 33 females - have been successfully translocated to AWC's Mt Gibson Wildlife Sanctuary, where they have been released into a 7,800 hectare feral predator-free area. The animals were airlifted from Bernier and Dorre Islands in Shark Bay as part of joint operation involving field staff from AWC and the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions.
The Banded Hare-wallaby has disappeared from 99% of its former range
The Banded Hare-wallaby is the sole survivor of a now extinct group of mostly megafauna kangaroos; it is genetically and morphologically distinct from all living kangaroo species. Once found from near the Victoria/SA border to southwestern Australia, the last wild animal on the mainland was recorded in 1906, highlighting the significance of its return to Mt Gibson.
A Banded Hare-wallaby being released at Mt Gibson
The Banded Hare-wallaby is so vulnerable to cats and foxes that it survives only in feral predator-free areas. The survival and recovery of the Hare-wallaby - and several other threatened mammals - depends entirely on the establishment of large feral cat and fox-free areas such as at Mt Gibson (which is the largest cat-free area on mainland WA).
The feral cat-proof fence at Mt Gibson Wildlife Sanctuary
The Mt Gibson population of the Hare-wallaby is expected to grow to ~3,000 animals over the next decade, making it the first self-sustaining wild population on mainland Australia for more than a century. The two remaining wild populations (totalling ~5,500 animals) are on Bernier and Dorre Islands. A reintroduced population has been established on AWC's Faure Island since 2004. A small number of individuals have recently been translocated to Dirk Hartog Island and a fenced sanctuary.