A total of 19 numbats born this year at Perth Zoo have been fitted with radio collars today ahead of being released into the wild.
Environment Minister Albert Jacob said five individuals would go to the Parks and Wildlife-managed Dryandra Woodland near Narrogin. The remainder would be released at the 7,800 hectare Mt Gibson Wildlife Sanctuary, in the Mid-West region, which is managed by the Australian Wildlife Conservancy.
The release of the Perth Zoo animals is part of the State Government's recovery program to arrest the decline in the numbers of this endangered species.
"This is the first time zoo-born numbats will be released into Mt Gibson Wildlife Sanctuary," Mr Jacob said.
"Just like State Government sanctuaries such as Perup near Manjimup, Mt Gibson has a predator proof fence that protects a variety of threatened mammals.
"Removal of threats, including feral cats and foxes, is the key to the survival of the numbat and sanctuaries are effective at providing protected areas for species to breed."
Mt Gibson Wildlife Sanctuary is home to an expanding population of numbats that have been sourced from Western Australia and bred at an Australian Wildlife Conservancy sanctuary in New South Wales.
"I hope the zoo numbats will breed with these individuals, to add genetic diversity and build an insurance population against extinction," the Minister said.
"Perth Zoo is the only zoo in the world breeding numbats. In collaboration with the Department of Parks and Wildlife, more than 200 individuals have been released to the wild, re-establishing four populations of numbats within their former range."
The numbats have been fitted with small radio collars to enable researchers to learn more about their movements and help field staff recapture female numbats post-mating season to determine if they have reproduced.
The numbat is Western Australia's mammal emblem. About 1,000 remain in the wild
Funding for the radio collars was provided by the community group Project Numbat
The Liberal National Government is creating a new predator proof sanctuary at the Dryandra Woodland near Narrogin
A process is underway to make the Dryandra Woodland, a national park
Minister's office - 6552 5800