It was a proud day for Bush Heritage’s team in south coast WA yesterday as we hosted the launch of our Fitz-Stirling Fauna Recovery Project!
Thirty-seven community members attended the launch at Red Moort Reserve on Noongar Country with highlights including Welcome to Country ceremony by Noongar Elder Eugene Eades, presentations from WA’s Department of Biodiversity and Conservation on the Western Shield Project and cat behaviour and movement research, presentation of the project aims and delivery by Bush Heritage staff and displays of monitoring, baiting and trapping equipment.
This ambitious five-year project spans about 40,000 hectares, making it the largest integrated fauna recovery program involving private landholders in the region’s history.
It aims to boost numbers of native animals in the Fitz-Stirling: the landscape between Fitzgerald River and Stirling Range national parks, by managing the predation threats from cats and foxes in particular.
The project is funded by Lotterywest and involves Noongar Traditional Owners, farmers and other community partners, with 17 landholders taking part in the project in 2021.
It's a chance to make a huge difference to the future of native species in south coast WA and is unique in that it involves multiple landholders working at a landscape scale to protect native fauna.
One day we hope it could be a model for similar projects throughout Australia addressing the threats from feral predators on native fauna populations.
By helping the bush return to good health, the project will pave the way for existing populations to flourish and locally threatened species, like the Red-tailed Phascogale, to be reintroduced.
The habitat restoration work is supported by an integrated feral predator control program focusing on feral cats, foxes and rabbits, all of which negatively impact on native species.
Due to the relationship between feral cats, foxes and rabbits, an integrated approach to control them is essential.
Increased numbers of Black-Gloved and Tammar Wallabies, other small mammals such as the Western Pygmy and Honey Possum and reptiles will be used as measures of success, as well as fewer feral predators. Extensive ecological monitoring of these measures will be ongoing over the next five years.
The Fitz-Stirling fauna restoration project will run until 2024. I look forward to bringing you further updates over the next five years.