As part of the Maruna Bangara Restoration Project, 100 Fusaone rats will move from the Upper Warren region of Western Australia to the lower end of the Yorke Peninsula in South Australia.
Darren Grover, Head of Healthy Land and Seascapes at WWF Australia, said the management of wild predators in the area would allow reintroduction.
“We need to make the area as safe as possible,” he said.
“Part of [Marna Banggara] The program was to build a fence in a small area of the peninsula to control stray cat and fox populations. “
The near-finished fence extends up to 25 km at the foot of the Yorke Peninsula, preventing pests from invading the 150,000-hectare safe zone of native species.
Fence construction follows a five-year “Feed for Biodiversity” program that has succeeded in reducing the number of foxes and stray cats in the area. This has stabilized the population of Kusamratsukatsuri and wallabies, and the return of other native animals.
Fusaone rats once inhabited more than 60% of mainland Australia, but are now found only in pockets in Western Australia and on some islands in South Australia.
Western Australian populations of Fusaone have paved the way for planned transfers.
The results of an annual Fusaone mouse population check conducted by the WA Department of Biodiversity Conservation Attractions (DBCA) suggest that the Barban region of the state currently raises up to 40,000 Fusaone rats.
Dr. Adrian Wayne, senior research scientist at DBCA, said Barban’s results mean that transfers are feasible.
“It’s a great place to procure Fusaone rats for transfers,” he said.
“Then you can reestablish them in other parts of the range that were previously but lost.”
Their return to the Yorke Peninsula is essential to the restoration of the local ecosystem. Fusaone rats spread the seeds of native plants and dig up about 4 tonnes of soil annually to improve water penetration and nutrient circulation.
The project is also expected to promote tourism in the region and improve agricultural productivity.
The first transfer will take place in the winter of 2021.
The wolf reintroduction is the first of four native species reintroduced to the southern Yorke Peninsula under the program.
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Place of originWoylies to return to Yorke Peninsula after 100 years