Twenty years after the rediscovery of Gilbert’s potoroo, monitoring of the world’s rarest marsupial has revealed small populations of the quokka-like animal in Western Australia are continuing to respond well to recovery efforts.
Environment Minister Albert Jacob said Gilbert’s potoroos had been the subject of intensive conservation work by the Department of Parks and Wildlife since the discovery of a single population of about 30 animals at Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve near Albany in 1994.
The population is now more than 100 animals across three colonies. A celebration to mark 20 years of progress will be held at Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve today (December 2).
“This is an outstanding success story, with government and community organisations working together to bring about real improvement in the numbers of this critically endangered species,” Mr Jacob said.
“Prior to its rediscovery, the species was thought to have been extinct for more than a century, with the last recorded specimens collected in the late 1870s.”
The Minister said ongoing recovery efforts included translocating 10 potoroos from the original colony at Two Peoples Bay to predator-free Bald Island between 2005 and 2007, as insurance against the loss of the mainland population.
“In 2010, nine potoroos from Bald Island and Two Peoples Bay were released into a predator-free 380ha enclosure in Waychinicup National Park, 25km east of Albany, with more animals introduced into the park over the past four years,” he said.
“The latest monitoring at Waychinicup has shown the species is doing well, with at least 29 animals in the enclosure, including the 12 animals that were translocated by helicopter from Bald Island to Waychinicup during July this year.
“This operation was funded through a generous donation of $10,000 by Albany-based community organisation, the Gilbert’s Potoroo Action Group.”
The main threat to Gilbert’s potoroo is predation by feral cats and foxes
The Department of Parks and Wildlife conducts baiting to control feral cat and fox populations across key areas of the State through its Western Shield wildlife recovery program
Minister’s office - 6552 5800