Hon Amber-Jade Sanderson BA MLA

Hon Amber-Jade Sanderson BA MLA

Minister for Health; Mental Health

Hon Bill Johnston MLA

Hon Bill Johnston MLA

Minister for Mines and Petroleum; Energy; Corrective Services; Industrial Relations

    Ground-breaking return of native rodents to Dirk Hartog Island

    2/09/2021 7:00 AM
    • 80 Shark Bay mice and 58 greater stick-nest rats released onto Dirk Hartog Island
    • Translocations mark milestones in innovative ecological restoration project
    • Prisoners at Albany Regional Prison helped build custom boxes for the operation

    Eighty vulnerable Shark Bay mice and 58 greater stick-nest rats have been successfully released back onto Dirk Hartog Island as part of the ground-breaking Return to 1616 project.


    These are the fifth and sixth mammal translocations to Dirk Hartog Island completed by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) as part of ecological restoration efforts on the island.


    Greater stick-nest rats were previously widespread across southern and western parts of Australia but have since gone extinct on Australia's mainland.


    Staff and prisoners at Albany Regional Prison built 66 custom-made boxes for the operation to keep the greater stick-nest rats safe as they travelled to their new home via utes, boats and helicopters.


    The boxes were made from structural ply, pine and stainless-steel mesh. The exercise counted, for some of the prisoners, to traineeships and a Certificate II in furniture-making.


    The Shark Bay mouse was once widespread across the southern and western parts of Australia, but now populations only remain on islands off the mid-west and north-west coast.


    The mice came from North West Island. Prior to their release, some mice were fitted with radio transmitters for ongoing monitoring by DBCA scientists.


    Both Shark Bay mice and greater stick-nest rats were once original fauna of Dirk Hartog Island and the successful reintroduction of this species is a significant milestone for the Return to 1616 project.


    Since commencing the wildlife reconstruction stage of Return to 1616, the project has seen the translocation of rufous hare-wallabies, banded hare-wallabies, Shark Bay bandicoots and dibblers.


    For more information on the Return to 1616 project, visit http://www.sharkbay.org/restoration/


    Comments attributed to Environment Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson:


    "This Shark Bay release is a wonderful achievement and a significant milestone in the innovative Return to 1616 ecological restoration project.


    "This project is certainly an ambitious one, but its success is ensuring our native wildlife have a safe sanctuary free from feral cats and goats. 


    "The McGowan Government is committed to ensuring the conservation of WA's diverse wildlife and I am pleased to celebrate these significant accomplishments for the Return to 1616 project."


    Comments attributed to Corrective Services Minister Bill Johnston:


    "This is not the first time prisoners at Albany Regional Prison's Cabinet Shop have made apparatuses for DBCA conservation work.


    "Making a contribution to the conservation of endangered species adds a meaningful   component to the rehabilitation and reintegration of prisoners in our care.


    "It's a practical example of how collaboration between prisons and those managing important conservation work can result in positive, cost-effective outcomes."


    Environment Minister's office - 6552 5900

    Corrective Services Minister's office - 6552 6700