Australia’s numbat population boosted after successful breeding in WA

Numbat (Photo: Perth Zoo)

Australia’s numbat population has been boosted after a colony recorded its first successful breeding inside the largest feral predator-proof zone in Western Australia.

The nation’s numbat population has been decimated by introduced predators and now less than 1,000 of the termite-loving individuals are believed to be left in the wild. But there are signs of hope for Western Australia’s faunal emblem.

To boost the species’ chance of survival, numbats from New South Wales and Perth Zoo were transported to Mount Gibson Wildlife Sanctuary, in WA’s Mid West, last year.  The 7,800 hectare sanctuary is located 367 km (5 hours) from Perth or 104 km (1.5 hours) from Wubin, travelling along the Great Northern Hwy to the signposted turnoff 73km north of Wubin. It is in the Avon-Wheatbelt Bioregion and is owned and managed by the Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC).

For the first time, conservationists have recorded translocated female numbats with pouch young, known as joeys. So far 13 tiny numbats have been recorded on female numbats wearing wear radio collars.

“It’s very, very exciting news,” AWC sanctuary manager Melissa Farrelly said.

“Our science team found out that four of the five females, they had collared and captured, were carrying little joey numbats.”

“It just shows that we’re actually mixing some of the genetics between the numbats that’ve been sourced from two different populations, which will hopefully help us build a really strong and robust population of numbats for the survival of the species,” she said.  (Source: ACB Perth)

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