Perth Zoo numbats sent east

Curious young numbat, shortlisted in the Memorable Moments photo competition. Photo credit Tamara Wilkes-Jones

Perth Zoo, the only zoo in the world that breeds numbats, has prepared eleven of these endangered little marsupials for release into the wild in New South Wales.

Eight of the marsupials were fitted with radio collars to allow scientists to gather valuable data and monitor their progress.

Their new home is a protected habitat at Mallee Cliffs National Park in New South Wales. This is the largest predator-free haven on mainland Australia, giving the numbats the best chance of survival.

Seven males and three females were born at Perth Zoo as part of a collaborative breading program. Another female was captured in the wild. It is the second group to be released at the Australian Wildlife Conservancy managed site.

The species has experienced a massive contraction in its range from the 1920s onwards and it is estimated only 1,000 numbats remain in WA’s southwest.

Fox predation is considered to be the main threat responsible for the decline. Other threats include:

  • feral cat predation
  • loss of habitat due to inappropriate fire regimes
  • historic widespread land clearing, and ongoing habitat disturbance and fragmentation
  • disease
  • climate change.

More than 280 zoo-born numbats have been released into the wild throughout WA, New South Wales and South Australia since 1993.

More information about numbats and a delightful video on hand-raising baby numbats at Perth Zoo here.

The numbat, Western Australia’s mammal emblem is one of two marsupials that are strictly diurnal (active during the day). Photo credit: Perth Zoo