Fifteen numbats born at Perth Zoo have been fitted with radio collars in preparation for their release into the wild as part of State Government efforts to arrest the decline of this endangered species.
Environment Minister Albert Jacob said the release of the 10 juveniles and five adults meant that more than 200 numbats bred at Perth Zoo had been released into the wild as part of a collaboration between Perth Zoo and the Department of Parks and Wildlife.
"The captive-bred animals will be released into the Dryandra Woodland near Narrogin, which is home to one of the last original wild numbat populations," Mr Jacob said.
"With wild numbers estimated to be as low as 1,000, the animals being released will help maintain genetic diversity and boost the Dryandra population."
Conservation of numbats at Dryandra is also supported by extensive baiting for foxes and feral cats under the State Government's successful wildlife recovery program Western Shield, operated by the Department of Parks and Wildlife. The State Government is implementing feral cat baiting using the newly approved Eradicat® bait.
Thanks to the conservation breeding and reintroduction programs, four more populations of these unique animals have been re-established in the wild at Boyagin Nature Reserve and Batalling State Forest in Western Australia, and the Australian Wildlife Conservancy's fenced and baited sanctuaries at Yookamurra in South Australia and Scotia in New South Wales.
The small radio collars, funded by the community group Project Numbat, enable Parks and Wildlife scientists to follow the numbats' progress.
They can monitor female numbats after the breeding season to determine if they have reproduced.
The numbat is Western Australia's animal emblem
It is believed as few as 1,000 numbats remain in the wild
Perth Zoo has the world's only breeding program for numbats
Minister's office - 6552 5800