Cheryl Edwardes

Cheryl Edwardes


    Western Shield program boosted by Tiwest sponsorship

    12/12/2000 11:07 AM

    One of Western Australia’s leading mining groups, Tiwest Joint Venture, is injecting $300,000 into the State Government’s biggest wildlife recovery project.

    Environment Minister Cheryl Edwardes announced Tiwest’s five-year, $60,000 a year sponsorship today and praised the ecological insight of the company.

    “To sponsor a wildlife project so generously is an enormous gesture of commitment to the environment that the State Government wholeheartedly embraces,” Mrs Edwardes said.

    Tiwest’s sponsorship takes the total level of sponsorship received for the Department of Conservation and Land Management’s Western Shield wildlife recovery program to around $1 million.

    The money will be used to aerially fox bait CALM-managed land between Lancelin, Jurien Bay and Dandaragan as well as some unvested Crown lands. Included in the area are Nambung and Badgingarra National Parks, and Nilgen and Eneminga nature reserves.

    “It is likely the quenda, woylie, tammar wallaby, western barred bandicoot, bilby and boodie will be reintroduced in these areas,” Mrs Edwardes said.

    “It’s a wonderful example of industry helping to recover rare and threatened animals to their former habitats.”

    Aerial baiting will cover 100,00ha, or an area the size of about 1.3 million suburban home blocks. Tiwest’s Cooljarloo mine site will be hand baited to increase the total baited area.

    The baits use 1,080 poison containing sodium fluoroacetate which mimics the naturally growing poison peas. Native animals are resistant to the poison but it is lethal to foxes and feral cats.

    Mrs Edwardes said after two years of baiting CALM would reintroduce animals using three techniques involving transferring founder animals from existing wild populations, captive breeding programs and from field breeding centres.

    CALM will monitor the reintroductions to ensure their success.

    Mrs Edwardes said she was delighted Tiwest had agreed to sponsor Western Shield for five years because it would be able to see the success of reintroductions of native fauna.

    Western Shield aerially baits 3.5 million hectares of State forests, national parks and nature reserves,” she said.

    “Most of these are south of Perth, so we are doubly pleased that Tiwest wants to sponsor this new expansion into the northern sandplains.”

    The Minister said sponsorship was the key to expanding Western Shield and increasing the benefits of feral predator control.

    “The European fox and feral cat have contributed to the extinction of 10 native mammals,” she said.

    “Dozens more species are threatened and survive only in low numbers - six of the mammals are restricted to tiny islands.

    “CALM successfully pioneered Western Shield so native animals could return to areas in which they once thrived.”

    Mrs Edwardes said in the last century 18 Australian mammal species were lost to introduced predators.

    “Lost habitat also led to extinctions while changes to other habitats made remaining native animals even more susceptible to predators,” she said.

    Since Western Shield started in 1996 almost 30 native fauna species have substantially increased their populations.

    “In the first four years the tammar wallaby, the quenda and the woylie have been taken off the endangered fauna list,” Mrs Edwardes said.

    “It is an incredible feat which owes its success to Western Shield.

    In April this year bilbies were returned to the Dryandra forest to commence breeding. Another group of bilbies was reintroduced to Francois Person National Park in Shark Bay.

    In August woylies and chuditch were released at Kalbarri National Park.

    Until this year, western barred bandicoots lived on two islands in the heritage-listed Shark Bay area. In September they were reintroduced to Dryandra Woodland field breeding centre.

    “I’m pleased Tiwest is behind Western Shield, which will pave the way of managing native fauna in the twenty-first century,” Mrs Edwardes said.

    Media contacts:
    Steve Manchee 9421 7777
    Gordon Wyre (CALM) 9442 0300