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A new o-fence-ive to save lots of bilbies.

Queensland Gov Announcement

 

The future of rabbit-eared bandicoot conservation at south-west Queensland’s Currawinya national park has been secured, with plans to substantially upgrade the predator-proof fence to guard the threatened marsupials from wild  cats and other predators. These little creatures have no defence against predatory cats and are totally unprepared to live side by side.

 Dreamworld BilbyPhoto: Mike Batterham

Environment and National Parks Minister Dr Steven Miles said the upgraded predator-proof fencing would be flood-resistant and bushfire-proof, when flooding in late 2011 and early 2012 damaged the existing fence, originally established in 2001, it allowed wild  cats to enter the park with devastating results. The only solution up to this moment in time is to segregate feral predators from vulnerable fauner. That is expensive and require federal and state financial commitments.

“The Department of environment and Heritage Protection (EHP) and Department of National Parks, Sport and racing (NPSR) will jointly finance $700,000 towards the upgrade will  offer a secure haven for vulnerable bilbies and facilitate research and identify ways for future release of bilbies into other  areas,” Dr Miles said. 

“The lower section of fence will be high grade PVC coated chain wire and sections of the fence most at risk of flooding will be  high grade stainless-steel netting filled with rocks to stop erosion from occurring and to stop predators from burrowing below the fence. 

“The ‘floppy top’ that stops predators including wild cats climbing over will be strengthened by Save the Bilby Fund.

Dreamworld Bilby 2Photo: Mike Batterham

 

“These measures will future-proof the enclosure for about thirty years guaranteeing that bilbies released into the enclosure can have the best opportunity  of survival,’ he said. 

Dr Miles said "the state government was finalising an agreement with Save the Bilby Fund to manage the necessary conservation and education work inside the enclosure for the next 5 years". It is this type of cooperation and inclusion that provides the successful result seen here.

“EHP has partnered with the Save the Bilby Fund and Dreamworld on a captive breeding program in order that bilbies will once more be released back to the Currawinya enclosure,’ he said. Captive breeding is the lifeline of the gene pool and by having a safe predator free enclosure the population can grow to a more sustainable level.

Welcoming the investment, Dreamworld head Life Sciences and Chair of Save the Bilby Fund, Al Mucci said the captive bilby breeding program at Dreamworld was a collaborative approach to save the critically endangered species. Without the inclusion of commercial enterprises the viability or success of these programs is seriously compromised.  

“Dreamworld actively supports the Save the Bilby Fund and is the sole Queensland establishment that breeds and releases bilbies back to the wild,” mr Mucci said. 

“Repairing the Currawinya fence means Dreamworld will recommence its breeding and release program. So in the next few years the populations will grow and hopefully will be sufficiently established that they can be removed from the endangered list. 

 Dreamworld Bilby 3Photo: Mike Batterham

“As the sole authorised non-government bilby breeding facility in Australia, Dreamworld is presently home to thirteen adult bilbies and two joeys in pouch that are all earmarked for release. Without a safe environment these little guys wouldn't last for very long. “We applaud the Queensland Government in taking this important breakthrough to create a safe and secure environment for this iconic Australian mammal,” Mr Mucci said.

 Dreamworld Bilby 4Photo: Mike Batterham

Dr Miles said Currawinya is internationally recognised for wetland habitat areas, with vulnerable species like the Major Mitchell’s parrot, the painted snipe, painted honeyeater, grey falcon and grey snake. 

“The park is one amongst other important protected estates in Queensland it is also the biggest national park in south-west Queensland,” he said. 

Dr Miles said protecting Queensland’s diversity couldn't be left to government alone, and partnerships like this one between EHP, NPSR, Save the Bilby Fund and Dreamworld, played a significant role in conserving our unique and vulnerable flora and fauna for future generations.

When you have views on subjects like endangered species and protecting habitat what do you do. You might notice we do not have a comments at the end of our articles. This is deliberate. We feel that for your voice to be heard the most productive place is your Facebook account. Making comments here would reach only a few who take the time to read them.

However when you post to your Facebook page you voice is strong enough to be heard. Your friends and family can be educated to the problems we face in Australia and by contributing to the nation debate at a local level we can have a positive effect on local, state and federal government. Do it for yourself and do it for these little guys. Australia needs your voice.