• Venessa Merrin

Numbat numbers on the up at Mt Gibson Wildlife Sanctuary

In January this year, AWC completed a 2,500 kilometre translocation of nine Numbats from Scotia Wildlife Sanctuary to Mt Gibson Wildlife Sanctuary as part of the Mt Gibson Endangered Wildlife Restoration Project.

The translocation included five females that were carrying between two to four young each. At that stage, the young would have only been a few days to just weeks old. The developing juveniles were deposited in nests in July and have now been seen on camera traps starting to exit their nests.

Three juvenile Numbats emerge from their nest at Mt Gibson.

Since their relocation the adult Numbats have been monitored through the use of camera traps and have also had their movements tracked via radio collars. Radio tracking of the Numbats is conducted by dedicated AWC ecologists both day and night. The ecologists also conduct trapping surveys to check the bodyweight and condition of the translocated animals. The information gathered from tracking and trapping allows AWC ecologists to study the Numbat’s home range, habitat preferences and general health. It also assists with determining the location of night-time denning sites – where the females deposit their young.

AWC’s research on the Numbats at Mt Gibson is generating vitally important new information about this highly endangered species. AWC is conducting detailed research on the ecology, breeding and behaviour of reintroduced populations of Numbats at Mt Gibson, Scotia and Yookamurra wildlife sanctuaries.

A reintroduced adult Numbat explores its Mt Gibson habitat.

So far the translocation has proven extremely successful with eight of the nine translocated adults surviving – a very high success rate for a translocation of this species. Further Numbat translocations are planned later in the year as AWC works with Perth Zoo, WA Department of Parks and Wildlife and other partners to establish a genetically diverse founder population. The Mt Gibson population is expected to eventually increase the global Numbat population by almost 25%. The Numbat is critically endangered with an estimated population of less than 1,000 individuals remaining.


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By Dr John Woinarski, eminent ecologist and AWC Director My world has been lived in and for nature. The bush permeated my childhood. Its beauty and mystery inspire me, giving salve to my life. Endless

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