Judy Edwards

Judy Edwards

Former Minister for the Environment; Science

    Western Shield to receive a $4million boost

    16/08/2005 12:00 AM

    Environment and Science Minister Judy Edwards today announced that the Department of Conservation and Land Management would provide a further $4million for the highly acclaimed Western Shield wildlife recovery program.

    The increase brings CALM’s total commitment to the native fauna conservation program to $12million over the next four years. This includes an additional $750,000 a year for additional research programs and $325,000 a year to cover rising costs associated with baits and the use of aircraft. A full-time Western Shield co-ordinator also will be appointed

    “When a program such as this is described as ‘leading edge’ by a review panel of independent scientists, it is important that we keep up the momentum,” Dr Edwards said.

    The Minister announced the additional funding at the launch of a special volume of the scientific publication Conservation Science Western Australia, which contains the independent review, public comments and 12 scientific papers that cover all aspects of Western Shield.

    “The release of the publication has coincided with National Science Week highlighting the importance and necessity of documenting and periodically reviewing programs such as Western Shield so that what we can share what we have learnt with others,” she said.

    Western Shield is a wildlife recovery program that aims to conserve native animals by controlling introduced predators such as the European fox and feral cat.

    “The program has achieved significant success with three native mammals; the woylie, quenda and tammar wallaby, removed from the State’s threatened species list and the woylie from the national list and international IUCN Red List,” Dr Edwards said.

    “Many other populations of native animals have recovered or been re-established in their former habitats and the restoration of ecological processes has been initiated.

    “Fauna translocations, which reintroduce a range of native fauna species to specific sites, are an integral part of the Western Shield.

    "Since the program’s inception, 105 translocations have been conducted and more are planned for the near future.

    “Just last week, three Gilbert’s potoroo (Australia’s, and one of the world’s, most critically endangered mammals) were translocated to Bald Island Nature Reserve near Albany as part of the ongoing effort to preserve the species.”

    Dr Edwards said the program also included a comprehensive captive breeding program and commended the work of CALM, Perth Zoo and Kanyana Rehabilitation Centre staff in the five breeding facilities.

    “The program has been further strengthened with sponsorship by the private sector and I would like to acknowledge and thank the generous sponsorship of Alcoa World Alumina Australia, Cable Sands WA Pty Ltd, Iluka Resources Ltd, the TiWest Joint Venture, the Australian Bush Heritage Fund and the Wind over Water Foundation,” she said.

    “Another important element in the program’s success is the co-operation and support of local communities, private landowners and Land Conservation District Committees who have helped by laying baits for foxes on their own land where it is adjacent to conservation reserves and State forest.”

    The Minister said the State Government would maintain its full commitment to Western Shield.

    “The importance of this program to future generations of Western Australians and the wider world population, demands continued monetary, personnel and scientific support,” she said.

    Minister's office: 9220 5050