26 September 2023

Rare dibblers get their own island

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One of Australia’s rarest marsupials has had a population boost with staff from the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions releasing 28 dibblers at Dirk Hartog Island National Park.

The dibblers, bred at Perth Zoo, travelled 800 kilometres by road, plane and helicopter to their new home.

Some 16 males and 12 females were released in optimal conditions for their welfare just before sunset.

In a statement, the Department said this was the fourth dibbler release on Dirk Hartog Island since 2019. Another 16 dibblers would be added next month, taking the total number to 137.

“The species once thrived on the island until feral animals wiped them out. It was feared dibblers were extinct for half a century, before being rediscovered near Albany in 1967,” the statement said.

“The Return to 1616 project has seen the reintroduction of rufous hare-wallabies, banded hare-wallabies, Shark Bay bandicoots, Shark Bay mice, greater stick-nest rats and western grass wrens.”

It said under the program, Dirk Hartog Island had become the world’s largest island to have feral cats, sheep and goats eradicated.

Minister for the Environment, Reece Whitby said it was a privilege to visit the beautiful Dirk Hartog Island and be part of the release under the ambitious Return to 1616 project.

“It’s great to see our staff working together to create natural sanctuaries and securing the future for native species,” Mr Whitby said.

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