Numbats will roam free

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

Nine Perth-born numbats can now call Dryandra Woodlands home after being released into the wild last Monday.

As part of Perth Zoo’s breeding program, one female and male were released into a fenced 1000ha of woodlands, while four females and three males were released into an unfenced area.

Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions principal research scientist Tony Friend said there had been a significant increase in the endangered marsupials’ population.

“Since last year there has been a huge increase,” he said.

“We’ve been controlling feral cats and that has been successful.”

The DBCA conducts an annual sighting survey in November, and Dr Friend said the Dryandra numbat population had doubled in size since last year.

A numbat in the Dryandra woodlands.
Camera IconA numbat in the Dryandra woodlands. Credit: John Lawson

Dr Friend said this group had a high chance of survival.

“I think this group is going to go pretty well, especially since we’ve got the feral cats under control,” he said.

“There has been no predation by feral cats on collared numbats since February, 2015 — until early in 2019, when one of the zoo-born males released into Dryandra last year was taken by a cat.

“So that’s one in four years, as opposed to six a year back in 2012-2013.”

The numbats are released into Dryanda during this time of year to mimic behaviour in the wild.

Before release, the numbats were fitted with radio collars, allowing the DBCA to monitor them.

Dr Friend said the numbats were monitored throughout their five-year lifespan.

“We mainly monitor them now for survival and breeding checks.”

Last year in December, the DBCA team released seven numbats into the woodlands.

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