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Numbat release helps boost species

Adult numbat
Adult numbat DPaW - Bert and Babs Wells

Eight captive-bred numbats have been fitted with radio collars and taught to evade predators ahead of their release into the wild next week as part of a State Government program to boost natural populations of the species.

Speaking at Perth Zoo today where the numbats were fitted with their collars, Environment Minister Albert Jacob said the marsupials would be released next week at Batalling State Forest near Collie.

“These numbats have been well prepared for their new life in the wild as part of a joint project between the Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPaW) and Perth Zoo,” Mr Jacob said.

“The numbats were bred at Perth Zoo and have received aerial predator awareness training to boost their survival chances and fitted with radio collars to help monitor their progress.

“Wild numbats are generally preyed on by raptors such as eagles and goshawks.  During training they were introduced to live birds of prey, safely tethered to a handler’s arm, and to the alarm calls of other birds, so they can recognise danger.”

The Minister said the release next week would mean 522 numbats had been translocated to new habitats as part of the State’s numbat recovery program.  The majority, 347, were wild bred numbats from populations recovering under fox control and 175 were bred at Perth Zoo.

“Perth Zoo has the world’s only captive breeding centre for numbats and has successfully bred these unique marsupials for release into the wild in the State’s South-West and interstate for 20 years,” he said.

“DPaW has been working to protect the species as part of its Western Shield wildlife recovery program and has translocated both wild and zoo-bred numbats to various locations across Australia.

“The Liberal National Government is working hard to conserve the State’s mammal emblem and is working with other State agencies and community groups to ensure the species is protected at sites across its former range.”

 *Numbats are an endangered species. Captive-bred numbats have been released at Stirling Range National Park, Boyagin Nature Reserve, Tutanning Nature Reserve, Batalling State Forest, Cocanarup Timber Reserve, Dale Conservation Park and the Australian Wildlife Conservancy’s Scotia Sanctuary in NSW.

Minister’s office - 6552 5800