• One-hundred brush-tailed mulgaras released onto Dirk Hartog Island
  • Eighth species translocated as part of ground-breaking ecological restoration project
  • Return to 1616 project is protecting populations of unique Western Australian wildlife

A rare marsupial has been released onto Dirk Hartog Island in a marathon 844-kilometre journey from Western Australia’s outback.

One-hundred brush-tailed mulgaras were captured in Matuwa Kurrara Kurrara National Park in the remote Goldfields, before travelling by plane and helicopter to their new home.

Twenty-nine animals were released just after sunset last night, as part of the Return to 1616 project. Seventy-one were translocated earlier this week.

The Return to 1616 project began in 2012, and is restoring the island to resemble the ecological condition from when Dutch sailor Dirk Hartog first explored the area more than four centuries ago.

Brush-tailed mulgaras are classified as near-threatened and are the eighth species to be translocated to the island. The group was made up of 60 females and 40 males.

The project has seen the reintroduction of rufous hare-wallabies, banded hare-wallabies, Shark Bay bandicoots, greater stick-nest rats, Shark Bay mice, dibblers and western grasswrens.

Dirk Hartog became the world’s largest island, at 63,300 hectares, to have feral cats, sheep and goats eradicated in 2018.

The program is primarily funded through the Gorgon Barrow Island Net Conservation Benefits Fund, with additional support from the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions.

The Wiluna Martu rangers, under the Tarlka Matuwa Piarku Aboriginal Corporation, helped with the translocation, and were welcomed to the island by Malgana Traditional Owners.

For more information, visit www.sharkbay.org/restoration/dirk-hartog-island-return-1616

Comments attributed to Environment Minister Reece Whitby:
“It’s a privilege to visit Dirk Hartog Island and see an eighth species released as part of the ambitious Return to 1616 project.

“The project is safeguarding the populations of our precious wildlife. Once complete, Dirk Hartog will be home to the richest variety of native mammals of any island off WA.

“It’s fantastic to be able to return these brush-tailed mulgaras to their predator-free island home.

“I congratulate the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions on improving this natural sanctuary, and achieving another conservation milestone for our State’s native wildlife.”