Numbat sighting gives hope

Headshot of Kellie Balaam
Kellie BalaamNarrogin Observer
An old camera captured the moment a numbat was seen at Dragon Rocks in Hyden.
Camera IconAn old camera captured the moment a numbat was seen at Dragon Rocks in Hyden. Credit: Numbat Task Force

A numbat has been seen at the Dragon Rocks Nature Reserve near Hyden for the first time since 2013.

The find has conservationists confident the numbat population in the area will make a comeback.

Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions principal research scientist Tony Friend said he was “really excited” about the sighting.

“It’s been eight years since the last confirmed sighting,” he said.

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“Numbats were reintroduced into Dragon Rocks in 1995 and they had such a fantastic survival rate we ran out of radio tracking collars to put on them.”

Dr Friend said the 33,000ha reserve was one of the most valuable in Australia and did not get the attention it deserved.

Robert McLean from the Numbat Task Force said the numbat was captured on an old monitoring camera on January 8.

“According to the Numbat Recovery Plan there has been a decline in numbers over recent years within Dragon Rocks and they estimate that there is now less than 50 remaining,” he said.

“That makes this little fella a very special numbat indeed and it is great to see they are still hanging on in the area.”

Dr Tony Friend releasing a numbat called Flora.
Camera IconDr Tony Friend releasing a numbat called Flora. Credit: John Lawson

Mr McLean said he would love to get funding to put more cameras around the reserve.

“What’s happening in Dryandra at the moment is pretty special, with the the way numbats are coming back,” he said.

“Cat baiting and the Western Shield recovery program is working so well it’s probably time to start doing that in all numbat habitat in WA.”

Dr Friend said the sighting had brought attention back to the area.

“Hopefully this will result in more investigations. I know Rob is keen on continuing this work to better define which areas are being used by numbats,” he said.

“What would be really helpful is if anyone out there sees a numbat, get in touch with the Numbat Task Force or the DBCA in Narrogin. That’s the best way to get information where it will do the most good.”

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