Giving native wildlife a second chance

Greater stick-nest rats | credit: Parks and Wildlife Service, DBCA

Another milestone has been achieved in the innovative Return to 1616 ecological restoration project on Dirk Hartog Island. Eighty vulnerable Shark Bay mice and 58 greater stick-nest rats have been successfully released onto the island.

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 become 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 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 destined for

Shark Bay mouse | credit: Parks and Wildlife Service, DBCA

Dirk Hartog came from North West Island. Before being released, some 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 these 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, also,  of rufous hare-wallabies, banded hare-wallabies, Shark Bay bandicoots and dibblers.

Find more information on the Return to 1616 project here.