On April 12, 2018, the Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC) finished creating a 94-square-kilometer—approximately 58-square-mile—sanctuary for threatened and endangered species of Australian mammals—specifically, small marsupials.
The cornerstone of this massive wildlife conservation effort is the construction of a 27.3-mile-long cat-proof fence. The fence has been designed to keep feral cats out, so that the AWC can focus on the conservation and rehabilitation of endangered and threatened species that inhabit the area.
In a recent press release from the AWC, they explain, “Completion of the fence is a critical step in establishing an initial feral predator-free area of 9,390 hectares. This will be the largest cat-free area on mainland Australia. Covering a diversity of habitats ranging from spectacular quartzite ranges through to rich spinifex sandplains, this feral-free area will deliver a substantial increase in the population of at least 11 nationally threatened mammal species.”
The AWC emphasizes the threat that feral cats pose to indigenous species, saying, “Across Australia, feral cats kill millions of native animals every night. Cats and foxes are the primary reason why Australia has the worst mammal extinction rate in the world.”
So now that the fence is completed, their next task is to remove the feral cat populations from within the area. To do this, they have enlisted the help of the AWC’s Newhaven Warlpiri Rangers, who “bring a unique set of skills to this task—they are among the best cat trackers in Australia.”
The rangers have already removed over 60 feral cats from around and within the fenced sanctuary. The AWC explains, “Our aim is to remove all feral cats and foxes, and reduce rabbit numbers to insignificant levels, before the end of 2018.”
Once the feral cats and foxes have been removed, the AWC will initiate wildlife conservation projects within the cat-proof fence sanctuary to help rebuild threatened species populations from all over Australia. They explain, “The AWC science team is preparing to undertake the largest threatened mammal translocation project in Australian history—the reintroduction to Newhaven of at least 10 threatened mammals which have become regionally extinct.”
In case you missed it last week, ABC Landline featured our Newhaven Wildlife Sanctuary, where we are building the world's longest feral cat-proof fence. This feral-free area in Central Australia will deliver a substantial increase in the population of at least 11 nationally threatened mammal species. You can watch the full story here. Learn more about our Newhaven Wildlife Sanctuary: https://bit.ly/2s72p0Q
Posted by Australian Wildlife Conservancy on Tuesday, May 29, 2018
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