Gilbert’s potoroos return to Two Peoples Bay
DBCA staff have translocated six Gilbert’s potoroos from two insurance populations on Bald Island back to Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve, where the original population had been lost following an intense summer bushfire in 2015 that burnt through over 90 per cent of suitable habitat.
Four animals trapped on Bald Island were flown by helicopter to Two Peoples Bay, fitted with radio-transmitters and GPS loggers, then two other animals, from a fenced area in Waychinicup National Park free of foxes and cats, made their journey by 4WD.
Gilbert’s potoroo is the world’s rarest marsupial. The species had been thought to be extinct since the early 1900s until rediscovered at Two Peoples Bay in 1994. The animals were found in dense, long unburnt heathland in the nature reserve on the slopes of Mount Gardner, where they fed almost exclusively on underground-fruiting fungi.
Using radio-tracking, these translocated animals will be monitored to see where they feed and seek refuge from predators. The information gained from this monitoring will help in understanding the success of this translocation and informing future re-introductions of Gilbert’s potoroo in the area.
This project is supported through funding from the Australian Government through South Coast Natural Resource Management Inc. and the Gilbert’s Potoroo Action Group Inc.
Comments attributed to: DBCA Principal Research Scientist Lesley Gibson
“The insurance populations established on Bald Island and in Waychinicup National Park by DBCA have been essential in supporting the translocation of these six Gilbert’s potoroo at Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve.
“This endearing marsupial still faces threats from foxes and feral cats and unmanaged fire regimes and it is vital that we continue to manage our conservation areas at the landscape scale to ensure viable habitat and maintain these areas with low levels of feral predators.
“The State Government is committed to working with partners and the community to conserve threatened species in Western Australia, including an expanded conservation reserve system through the Plan for Our Parks initiative which will deliver five million hectares of new conservation estate in Western Australia.”