Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC) has restored a species that was considered extinct to a New South Wales national park.
On Friday, just after sunset, 33 Bridled Nailtail Wallabies, including eight pouch young, were released into the feral predator-free area in the Pilliga as part of AWC’s groundbreaking partnership with the New South Wales Government.
The animals were trapped and flown to NSW from Queensland’s Taunton National Park, the site where the Bridled Nailtail Wallabies were rediscovered after being thought extinct for almost 40 years. This initial cache of animals is being supplemented by a population from AWC’s Scotia Wildlife Sanctuary.
AWC now protects at least half of the entire Bridled Nailtail Wallaby population and protects, within the predator-free fenced area at Scotia Wildlife Sanctuary, the largest remaining population.
The Bridled Nailtail Wallabies are the second species to be restored to NSW within a purpose-built feral predator-free area. Late last year, Bilbies were released there, and have settled well into their new home.
AWC Chief Executive Tim Allard said Australia has the worst mammal extinction rate in the world with 31 mammals having gone extinct since European settlement and a further 56 mammal species facing the same fate, but the future for the Bridled Nailtail Wallaby looks secure:
“We need to take radical action now to stop more extinctions. The fact that only very recently, the Bridled Nailtail Wallaby was thought to be extinct shows collaborative efforts can protect our natural heritage.
We are proud of this project. AWC has a population at our Scotia Wildlife Sanctuary in western NSW, and this population, along with more from Queensland will see this species future secured.”
The Bridled Nailtail Wallaby was once abundant across much of eastern Australia, however with the introduction of the feral cats and foxes, populations plummeted towards extinction. In the 1930s, it was thought to have been lost forever, with the last animal recorded in 1937.
However, in 1973 a fencing contractor spotted the unusual mammal which matched the description given in a feature story in a Women’s Day magazine. The area he was working in is now Taunton National Park.
NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean said the releases are part of the NSW Government’s 10-year Saving our Species program:
“It’s not just about preserving what we have, it’s about bringing back what we have lost.
It makes me incredibly proud to see these amazing endangered Bridled Nail-tail Wallabies returning home to NSW.”
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