One of Australia's rarest marsupials has had a boost to its wild population with the release of 36 dibblers at Dirk Hartog Island National Park.
Scientists from the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions successfully released 17 male and 19 female dibblers this month as part of the 'Return to 1616' ecological restoration project.
Born at Perth Zoo, these captive bred marsupials were the third group of the species to be released into the feral cat free habitat as part of the project.
To date, 93 individuals have been released on the island and while the animals can be difficult to monitor, there is evidence of the previously released dibblers successfully breeding.
Nine dibblers in the recent group have been temporarily placed in enclosures to trial a soft release to encourage the animals to remain closer to release sites and improve opportunities for long-term monitoring.
Since commencing the wildlife reconstruction stage, scientists have translocated rufous hare-wallabies, banded hare-wallabies, Shark Bay bandicoots, dibblers, Shark Bay mice and greater stick-nest rats.
The project's first stage involved eradicating feral cats, goats and sheep to help restore the native fauna habitat.
For more information on the Return to 1616 project, visit https://www.sharkbay.org/restoration/dirk-hartog-island-return-1616
Comments attributed to Environment Minister Reece Whitby:
"This release is another exciting milestone for this ambitious project and one worth celebrating.
"As dibblers are an endangered species, every individual animal released back into safe habitat makes a big difference to the future of the species.
"I'd like to commend scientists and zookeepers at the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions who are working hard to create and maintain feral cat free sanctuaries that support our native species and ensure they can thrive for generations to come."