Posted on 28th February 2019 by Media Relations
Taronga Western Plains Zoo has eight Greater Bilbies ready to release into a 110-hectare conservation and breeding sanctuary in Dubbo.
The four females and four males have undergone quarantine and health assessments and had tracking devices fitted before being transferred into pre-release yards in the Zoo’s sanctuary.
Member for Dubbo, Troy Grant said, “I’ve said countless times over the years that Taronga Western Plains Zoo has a terrific range of animals, and a strong emphasis on conservation, and for that reason it is highly-regarded not only across our region and the nation, but across the world.”
“The arrival of these Bilbies is the next step in the Zoo’s commitment to help save this species from extinction, and they couldn’t be in safer hands.”
“The eight Bilbies have all settled into the pre-release yards well. We have been able to track each to their burrows and are monitoring them daily via CCTV footage,” said Andrew Elphinstone, Manager of Conservation and Recovery Programs.
“The Bilbies are set to be released into the sanctuary in the next month following final confirmation that no invasive predators and competitors such as cats, foxes and rabbits remain in the area.”
“Once released the Bilbies will be monitored via tracking devices and burrow cameras. The individuals will undergo physical check-ups periodically for health assessments throughout the year,” said Andrew.
The Greater Bilby is an iconic, threatened marsupial that was once widespread throughout arid and semi-arid Australia, including NSW. Due to habitat loss and introduced predators and herbivores, sadly the Greater Bilby has been locally extinct in NSW for more than a century.
Taronga is dedicating the next 10 years to the conservation of 10 critical species, one of which is the Greater Bilby. It’s the beginning of a long-term commitment to secure a future for these legacy species, and help them to not only survive, but thrive.
Taronga Western Plains Zoo’s 110-hectare sanctuary is a research and breeding site that will provide information on the management of the Bilbies as the program works to reintroduce them into the wild. The first sanctuary-bred Bilbies will be destined for release into Sturt National Park (as part of the Wild Desert project) in the arid north-western corner of NSW.
The sanctuary project will also support the national recovery of the species and animals bred will be released to additional national parks under the Office of Environment and Heritage’s Reintroduction of Locally Extinct Mammals Project.
The sanctuary is part of the Wild Deserts project - a partnership between the Office of Environment and Heritage, the University of NSW and Ecological Horizons - in collaboration with Taronga Conservation Society Australia. The sanctuary has been funded through a major philanthropic donation to the Taronga Foundation.
The Wild Deserts project is part of the Office of Environment and Heritage’s Saving our Species program, that addresses the growing number of plants and animals in NSW facing extinction.
Taronga Conservation Society Australia is a leader in the fields of conservation, research, animal welfare, wildlife rehabilitation and environmental education. Taronga is a not-for-profit organisation with an absolute commitment to conservation and securing a shared future for wildlife and people.