- 3,000ha emergency aerial baiting to save potoroos, scrub birds and possums
- Major ground baiting planned in wake of Two Peoples Bay bushfire
The State Government has taken emergency action to protect the Gilbert's potoroo - the world's rarest marsupial - from feral predators following a bushfire last week at Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve east of Albany.
Environment Minister Albert Jacob said aerial baiting had been completed to minimise impacts on the critically endangered species, after lightning sparked the 1,230 hectare fire.
"An initial survey of the Gilbert's potoroo population at Two Peoples Bay found the animals showed a remarkable ability to avoid the fire and find small unburnt patches, where they took refuge," Mr Jacob said.
"Of the seven animals fitted with tail-mounted transmitters, five were found alive and a radio-tracking flight is planned to search for the other two."
The Department of Parks and Wildlife aerial baiting has covered more than 3,000ha at Two Peoples Bay, using Eradicat® baits to protect the Gilbert's potoroo, the noisy scrub bird and the western ringtail possum inhabiting the reserve.
Parks and Wildlife officers are still investigating the impact on the endangered noisy scrub bird and western ringtail possum.
"Ground baiting along 20 kilometres of tracks has also been planned," the Minister said.
"The emergency baiting is in addition to routine fox and feral cat control in the reserve under the Western Shield program.
"Parks and Wildlife has trapped all five Gilbert's potoroos located so far and will attempt to trap any other individuals, to provide an extra level of protection for the population during this vulnerable period."
The displaced animals will be cared for in captivity to recover their strength before being returned to Mt Gardner or relocated to one of the other population sites.
Mr Jacob said the Department of Parks and Wildlife had worked closely with the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority and the Commonwealth Threatened Species Commissioner to facilitate the emergency baiting.
- Prior to the Gilbert's potoroo's rediscovery at Two Peoples Bay in 1994, the species was thought to be extinct, with the last recorded specimens collected in the 1870s
- Mt Gardner is the only known wild population of the Gilbert's potoroo, and Parks and Wildlife has insurance populations at Waychinicup and Bald Island
Minister's office - 6552 5800