Community efforts to protect numbats and woylies from foxes and feral cats have ramped up in the Wheatbelt following the announcement of a new partnership agreement.
As part of the Dryandra Numbat Woylie (Predator Control) project, the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) has partnered with the Peel-Harvey Catchment Council and Project Numbat to support landholders and give threatened species a fighting chance of survival in the Dryandra Woodland.
The partnerships will help maximise the benefit of baiting and other targeted control programs in the Dryandra Woodland by encouraging adjacent landholders to undertake feral predator control work in conjunction with the department.
The original project started in 2015 when woylie and numbat populations were continuing to decline.
In addition to the ongoing baiting by DBCA to control foxes, a range of complementary feral predator control initiatives were progressively introduced. One involved an effort to engage and encourage neighbouring farmers to control feral predators on their properties. This valuable work resulted in close to 100 feral cats being removed.
DBCA conservation officer Marissah Kruger said the new partnerships will assist to maintain and build a sustainable woylie and numbat population.
“Dryandra Woodland is important for fauna conservation in the State,” she said.
“Not only is it one of only a few locations where original populations of numbats and woylies occur, it is also a great place for people to interact with the unique wildlife.
“Baiting for foxes commenced at Dryandra in 1982 and their numbers have declined over the years, however, feral cats have now become an emerging primary predator of woylies and numbats.”
Baiting is carried out under the department’s flagship fauna program, Western Shield, which is one of the biggest wildlife conservation programs ever undertaken in Australia.
“Cat baiting frequently has proven successful in helping to reduce feral cat populations over the past two years, and with ongoing monitoring and collaboration from neighbouring landowners and farmers, we are confident we can help the threatened species thrive in the long-term,” Ms Kruger said.
Continuing support from the Peel-Harvey Catchment Council, Project Numbat and one of Western Shield’s project sponsors Western Areas LTD will also be key to the project’s long-term success.