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Wendy Kinsella

Horticulturalist and Bush Regenerator.

For the past 20 years Wendy has worked restoring remnant vegetation in Sydney Sandstone plant community. For 13 of those years she has worked as a bush regenerator for Taronga Zoo, taking responsibility for and working with Mosman council to ensure the integrity of the land over which we have stewardship.

In 2009 she enrolled as a part time student in Masters of Philosophy research. 

Back in 2008 Wendy was introduced to Grainne Cleary who volunteered to assist the bush regeneration work along the Zoo foreshore and familiarise herself with Sydney’s vegetation. Today Dr Cleary is one of my Masters supervisors with Dr Stephen Bonser and Dr Peter Banks from the University of NSW. They are all working on a project to reintroduce the Bush Rat Rattus fuscipes into parts of northern Sydney. Wendy's role in the project is to determine what governs Bush Rat habitat and so find suitable habitat for its reintroduction.

As a bush regenerator Wendy's overall aim is to restore the biodiversity of Taronga’s Harbour Foreshore and this research work was a golden opportunity. Within the research project she has three aims:

  • Identify key habitat characteristics essential for Bush rat populations
  • Test for negative biological interactions between Bush and Black Rats
  • Verify that fragmented areas of native vegetation can be linked to support a stable and successful Bush Rat reintroduction

Evaluating the impact of the Sydney foreshores altered habitat on the displacement of the common Bush Rat by the Black Rat will provide and insight into the impacts of both habitat loss and fragmentation on other native fauna. If we can understand the implications of removing a common species from a habitat it may give us the key to preventing the demise of other species.

Wendy Kinsella