24 Oct RUFOUS BETTONG’S RETURN TO THE WILD!
Aussie Ark, alongside partners Re:wild, WIRES and Australian Geographic, are celebrating the release of 20 Rufous Bettongs into its 400Ha sanctuary – the Barrington Wildlife Sanctuary.
The release is the largest the conservation organisation has undertaken for this particular species and is of significance due to the critical role these small, but mighty creatures play within the landscape.
“We are beyond excited to release 20 Rufous Bettongs into our protected island, the Barrington Wildlife Sanctuary. We have been working with this species since 2017 and to see years of hard work culminate in this milestone is pretty epic” said Tyler Gralton, Supervisor at Aussie Ark.
He continued “Bettongs are critical to their environment. As ecosystem engineers, their slow disappearance from our landscapes is having huge flow on effects for wildlife and their habitats”
Ecosystem engineers are small mammals that create a huge difference to the environment. Ecosystem engineers are species that create, modify, or maintain habitats in significant ways. These uniquely productive animals create conditions for other species to benefit from, such as adequate shelter or food sources. They punch above their small weight and create real outcomes for our biodiversity.
Ecosystem engineers are the backbone of biodiversity. Sadly, they are some of the most forgotten species in our environments. Aussie Ark is committed to being a voice for species big and small, highlighting the impacts each of them have.
The Rufous Bettong is the only member of its genus and is the largest of all the potoroids. It is generally grey with a hint of reddish-brown – with its scientific name meaning “reddish high-rump”. It was once thought of as a solitary and nocturnal animal, but recent observation indicates that the Rufous bettong may form loose, polygynous associations. Once widespread along the East Coast of Australia, and like many other smaller native mammals, its population has declined and fragmented since the introduction of foxes and cats, making it difficult for breeding and resulting in local extinctions.
“Following the last 4 years of natural disasters, alone, the work we are doing at Aussie Ark is profound. To be there to witness these animals hop off into an environment reminiscent of pre-European settlement is a feeling you can’t replicate” says Mr Gralton.
The released Bettongs will now call the 400-hectare wildlife sanctuary home and never fear the threat of introduced feral cats and foxes. The team at Aussie Ark will continue to monitor the species through fauna surveys and motion triggered cameras.
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