We have kicked off development for a 110-hectare breeding sanctuary for the Greater Bilby here at Taronga Western Plains Zoo! The Minister for Environment, the Hon Gabrielle Upton MP, made the special announcement last Thursday 7 September, on Threatened Species Day.
Fencing is underway, with completion expected in November. Meanwhile, predators and competing herbivores such as cats, foxes and rabbits are being cleared, prior to the initial introduction of 10 Greater Bilbies to the sanctuary in Autumn 2018. A female Greater Bilby can produce up to eight joeys per year, and we’re anticipating the population will grow quickly.
The Greater Bilby is an iconic, threatened marsupial that was once widespread throughout arid and semi-arid Australia, including NSW. But due to habitat loss and introduced predators and herbivores, sadly the Greater Bilby has been locally extinct in NSW for more than a century.
We’re looking forward to releasing the first Greater Bilbies bred in the breeding sanctuary into Sturt National Park in late 2019. It’s a great step in the right direction as part of the Wild Deserts project (more information below), which will bring back seven locally extinct mammals to the National Park.
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.
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.