The NSW Government has contracted the Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC) and the University of New South Wales (UNSW) to deliver the innovative project to reintroduce locally extinct mammal species into NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) reserves. This initiative, first announced in April 2014, will see the return of mammal species not seen in their natural habitat in NSW for over 90 years.
The reintroduction of locally extinct mammals is a significant component of the Saving our Species program, which aims to maximise the number of threatened species that can be secured in the wild in NSW over the next 100 years.
Nearly 180,000 hectares across three NPWS reserves will be dedicated to the project. Within these areas, AWC and UNSW will establish and manage large introduced animal-free exclusion areas of several thousand hectares where the mammals will be reintroduced following introduced predator and other pest animal removal. The partner organisations will also deliver complementary park management activities in collaboration with the NPWS.
Parks in which fences are proposed to be constructed - in accordance with environmental approvals - are Sturt National Park, Mallee Cliffs National Park and Pilliga State Conservation Area.
More than ten species have been identified for reintroduction including the iconic bilby, numbat, and brush-tailed bettong.
Our scientific research has shown that these mammals play a significant role in maintaining the health of ecosystems. Reintroducing them to exclosures in parks where introduced predators and other pest animals have been removed will not only reduce their risk of extinction, but is expected to deliver significant benefits to many other threatened species as well.
Potential species for reintroduction
Species proposed for reintroduction include: