Malleefowl generally dwell on the ground, making them particularly vulnerable to predators. Before European settlement, Malleefowl were found across large areas of Australia. The introduction of the fox, increased drought and habitat destruction mean it is now threatened across its limited range. An important species within the mallee ecosystem, captive breeding and release programs are under way.
Short-term monitoring of released zoo-bred birds showed the fox is mainly to blame for their decline and informed the fox control program. But extended monitoring of released birds, in order to understand recruitment and dispersal patterns, was lacking. This project aimed to gain this longer-term understanding of released birds.
In partnership with Charles Sturt University, this project developed and will test GPS attachments for longer-term use following Malleefowl releases. For 20 years Taronga Western Plains Zoo has supported the NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water Malleefowl Recovery Program, releasing over 400 birds.