At sites such as Dryandra Woodland, Peron Peninusla, Lorna Glen and Upper Warren, the Parks and Wildlife Service is attempting to increase the diversity and distribution of native species, improving the capacity of these ecosystems to function more effectively.

The loss of a native animal species can severely damage the ecology of an area.

  • For example, a single pdfwoylie (Bettongia penicillata ogilbyi) can turn over nearly five tonnes of soil each year searching for underground, truffle-like fungi. This activity:
    • disperses fungal spores that assist plant growth
    • helps leaf litter decomposition, reducing fuel loads (reducing risk of bushfires) and higher nutrient recycling
    • allows water to penetrate better into otherwise water-repellent soil
    • improves seed germination.
  • Woylies are also very important for some plants, such as sandalwood (Santalum spicatum), as they help spread and germinate their seeds by burying them for 'later'.

Captive breeding

Western swamp tortoise. Photo - DBCA

Captive breeding programs are suitable for some threatened species where numbers are very low in the wild. 

Captive-bred animals may be released into the wild to boost existing populations or establish new populations. This takes a lot of planning and consideration of animal welfare, and genetic issues are critical to the success of captive breeding.

Perth Zoo's captive breeding program. has been critically important for a number of species including the western swamp tortoises (Pseudemydura umbrina), numbat and dibbler.

Translocation

Translocation — reintroducing captive-bred or other animals to re-establish or boost populations in the wild — is used to help threatened species recover.

The success of translocations relies heavily on the Parks and Wildlife Service being able to control predators through Western Shield. Translocations take a lot of planning and involve a range of staff coming together from many disclipines to ensure the success of a translocation. Consideration is gven to animal welfare and population genetics for long-term success.

More than 100 animal translocations have been carried out throughout the State since 1996 under Western Shield. It has also provided animals for translocation programs in other states.

 

'Return to 1616': a success story

 

The Return to 1616 project aims to restore the animals, vegetation and habitats of Dirk Hartog Island National Park to their original condition, when Dirk Hartog first visited the island on 25 October 1616.

The island has experienced significant pressure from feral animals since that time. Sheep and goats both changed the vegetation, while efficient new predators, feral cats, added to the impact on native animal species, leading to the local extinction of several species of small mammals and one bird.

Return to 1616 brings hope. Sheep removal was completed in 2016, goats followed soon after in 2017 and feral cats were declared eradicated on the island in 2018. With feral cats gone, the animals that couldn't survive the impact of feral species are slowly being returned with translocations of rufous and banded hare-wallabies, dibblers and Shark Bay bandicoots. A total of 13 species of animals are planned for reintroduction to the island over the next 10 years.