International World Environment Day, June 5, kicks off the UN decade on preventing, halting, and reversing the global degradation of ecosystems. This is a call to action to scale up the restoration of ecosystems around the world – and it speaks to the heart of what we do at Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC).
In a recent report from the Australian National University, Australia’s environmental condition rated 3.1 out of 10. This is sobering assessment, but we know that with effective science-informed conservation action we can improve it! With your support, AWC is on the ground, restoring regionally extinct species and delivering effective science-informed conservation land management that is generating better outcomes for biodiversity.
AWC is ramping up our extensive reintroduction program, restoring threatened and locally extinct species across the country. Last month, in partnership with the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, AWC released a further 38 threatened Greater Stick-nest Rats or ‘Stickies’ to the feral predator-free fenced area at Mallee Cliffs National Park – the largest safe haven of its kind on mainland Australia.
To date, four out of a total of 11 regionally extinct species have been restored to Mallee Cliffs and the Pilliga State Conservation Area, as part of the NSW Government’s Reintroduction of Locally Extinct Mammals Project. The sociable Stickies have been observed working together to build tall elaborate nests out of sticks and stones.
In April, AWC ecologists released 25 more Red-tailed Phascogales at Newhaven Wildlife Sanctuary in central Australia, supplementing the existing phascogale population. Radio-collars were attached to nine individuals allowing ecologists to monitor survivorship, dispersal and choice of shelter. Since the release, phascogales have been seen nesting in tree crevices, leaf litter and nest boxes.
On Kangaroo Island, after more than a year of hard work by Kangaroo Island Land for Wildlife, local landholders the Doube family and AWC, the Western River Refuge is officially feral cat free. This is great news for the endangered Kangaroo Island Dunnart and a suite of threatened species – including the endangered Southern Brown Bandicoot and Kangaroo Island Echidna and vulnerable Heath Goanna and Bassian Thrush – that call the refuge home.
The last cat was removed on 24 November 2020 and no introduced predators have been detected in the subsequent seven months of intensive monitoring. Protecting wildlife from the significant threat posed by feral cats (every night, cats kill around six million mammals, birds and reptiles) and undertaking conservation land management will help to restore Kangaroo Island’s unique ecosystem, reversing the damage caused by the Black Summer bushfires.
Australia’s wildlife needs our help now more than ever. Please support this groundbreaking project and help save Australia’s threatened wildlife.