19 Aug THE FUTURE IS FENCED
In answer to Australia’s wildlife crisis, Aussie Ark has a vision of creating robust insurance populations of Australian threatened, native mammal species such as the Tasmanian devil, Eastern quoll and long-nosed potoroo, suitable for semi-wild release into large, predator proof fenced sanctuaries in the Barrington Tops, for eventual reintroduction to the wild.
The fencing of Aussie Ark’s largest sanctuary yet has been completed. 400 Hectares of pristine wilderness will soon come to protect some of Australia’s most iconic species as well as an additional, 50 species of mammal, 278 species of bird, 42 species of reptiles and 18 species of frog already residing in the area.
The sanctuary will provide long-term protection, giving at-risk species the space needed to recover and increase their populations numbers.
With the 400-hectare sanctuary due to open in November 2019 the challenge facing Aussie Ark now is the removal of the feral species found in the sanctuary.
So far Aussie Ark keepers have encountered one feral cat and four foxes, as well as 17 feral pigs. These minute numbers of feral pests hold the ability to decimate the wildlife released into the sanctuary.
Cat detector dogs have been used to detect and passively indicate the presence of introduced vertebrate predators, their carcasses, scats, scent marking locations and live animals. Trained detector dogs have the potential to improve how we locate, capture and eradicate particularly elusive species such as the fox and cat.
In addition to detector dogs, pig traps have been set with cameras attached to monitor the wildlife movement in and around the area. Pig traps are a valuable method for managing feral pigs at relatively low densities, however trapping is labour intensive and is not always a rapid method of population reduction. Not all pigs are trappable, some will not enter traps, some pigs will not like the bait and others will refuse to enter.
With the first release scheduled for November 2019 Aussie Ark is working around the clock to ensure the sanctuary is fit for release, by removing and eradicating the pest species inside.
Whilst camera traps, night spotting and scat trails have revealed what feral species are found in the sanctuary, motion sensor cameras have also confirmed the presence of native wildlife within the sanctuary including Greater Gliders, Koalas, wallabies, possums and echidnas.
There’s much to be done, but it is so exciting to see this project come to fruition and to be able to make a difference to the future of those individuals under our protection.
Establishing these protected areas of land and insurance populations are crucial to the survival of our wildlife. Without action we stand to lose part of our national identity and it is clear that the future is fenced.
Collaborative partnerships with Ellerston Station, Global Wildlife Conservation, Glencore, and Zurich Zoo are changing the future of some of Australia’s most unique wildlife, and the Aussie Ark team can’t wait to see what the future holds!
You can help Aussie Ark brink our species back from the brink, visit aussieark.org.au today.