News from the Field, Press Release

Bilby population doubles at Mallee Cliffs National Park

09 Aug. 2021
Wayne Lawler/AWC

The future of Australia’s iconic Bilby is looking up on the east coast with AWC revealing that a population of bilbies has more than doubled at Mallee Cliffs National Park since they were reintroduced to western NSW in December 2019.

In 18 months, the founding population of 50 bilbies has increased to over 120 individuals, a sign that the reintroduction of one of Australia’s most iconic threatened species has been a success.

 

 

The Bilbies were initially released into a special breeding area within the fenced haven (the largest feral predator-free fenced area on mainland Australia) at Mallee Cliffs National Park, as part of AWC’s partnership with the NSW Government under the Saving our Species program. Thanks to the rapid growth in Bilby numbers, in June AWC’s team of ecologist were able to release 60 of the new individuals from the breeding area into the wider 9,500-hectare feral predator-free safe haven within the park.

“It’s really exciting for us to see this iconic Australian species thriving at Mallee Cliffs National Park – an area within its historic range,” says Dr Laurence Berry, AWC Senior Wildlife Ecologist. “Witnessing the population double within a year-and-a-half is very encouraging. It highlights the effectiveness of AWC’s scientific approach to wildlife conservation.”

 

Over the last 18 months, the 50 bilbies reintroduced at Mallee Cliffs have successfully doubled in numbers to over 120 individuals. Wayne Lawler/AWC
Over the last 18 months, the 50 bilbies reintroduced at Mallee Cliffs have successfully doubled in numbers to over 120 individuals.

 

“This week, we were able to remove around 60 of the new young adult individuals from the breeding area – which represent the genetic diversity of the founding animals – and release them into the wider feral predator-free fenced area at Mallee Cliffs. This will allow the population to continue to expand within the larger safe haven.”

Over the next few months, AWC’s team at Mallee Cliffs National Park will closely monitor the young adult bilbies released into the wider fenced area.

 

50 bilbies were released outside the breeding pen and into the wider fenced area at Mallee Cliffs National Park in western NSW. Wayne Lawler/AWC
50 bilbies were released outside the breeding pen and into the wider fenced area at Mallee Cliffs National Park in western NSW.

 

As part of the partnership between AWC and the NSW Government, 10 threatened and regionally extinct mammal species will be reintroduced at Mallee Cliffs National Park and the Pilliga. This includes Bilbies, Greater Stick-nest Rats, Numbats, Mitchell’s Hopping-mice, Brush-tailed Bettongs, Bridled Nailtail Wallabies, Western Barred Bandicoots, Red-tailed Phascogales, Western Quolls and Burrowing Bettongs.

Learn more about AWC’s work with the NSW Government at Mallee Cliffs National Park, here.

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