Australia’s most ambitious rewilding project is achieving incredible results, with 10 locally extinct species now thriving after being reintroduced to three wildlife-free areas in New South Wales national parks.
Environment Minister James Griffin said within three years of reintroducing the animals to their original habitats, New South Wales was already reversing the trend of extinctions.
“We laid out a bold plan backed by science to create areas where we could eradicate feral predators and reintroduce locally extinct animals like the bilby and numbat, which have been extinct in the wild in New South Wales since over 100 years,” Mr. Griffin said.
“Wild cats and foxes are a huge threat to our native species and are a key driver of high extinction rates, with cats alone responsible for the deaths of 1.5 billion native animals globally. national each year.
“This is a world-class rewilding program, with the aim of returning the bush to what it was before wild animals were introduced 200 years ago.
“It’s amazing to see that in such a short time we are on track to remove at least 10 animals from the NSW Extinct Species List – the first time this will happen anywhere in the world. .”
To help endangered species thrive in the future, the NSW government is setting up 7 wildlife-free rewilding sites in NSW.
When completed, 65,000 hectares of national parks will be free of wild predators, providing a significant conservation benefit for more than 50 species.
The 3 sites established so far are Pilliga State Conservation Area, Mallee Cliffs National Park and Sturt National Park.
In partnership with the National Parks and Wildlife Service, the Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC) offers the Mallee Cliffs and Pilliga rewilding programs, and the University of NSW Wild Deserts offers the Sturt National Park site program.
Regular monitoring has revealed that at the three sites free from wild predators, all species reintroduced to their original habitat are thriving and reproducing successfully.
AWC Chief Executive Tim Allard said New South Wales’ wild areas are helping to reverse the decline in biodiversity and the extinction of our most vulnerable species.
“Effective partnership between government and conservation organizations helps provide the resources and expertise needed to deliver large-scale conservation, which is essential to restoring our country’s unique biodiversity,” Allard said.
Prof Richard Kingsford, head of wild deserts at UNSW, said it was great to see the whole ecosystem recovering and to show that eliminating wild pests can make a real difference.
“This is where we really start to see the results of not just the season, but also the benefits of good management and our collaborations, delivering conservation at scale,” Prof Kingsford said.
“It really makes a difference to actively manage these landscapes and eliminate wildlife.”