AUS Taxonomic Groups

Australian Mammal Reintroductions

Northern Hairy-nosed Wombat

The northern hairy-nosed wombat (Lasiorhinus kreftii) is the most endangered mammal living in Queensland, with only 115 wombats living in one small protected area. Currently the main threat to the species is the small size of its population, which is in a single population. A second colony is therefore needed to minimise the risk of extinction. The recovery plan for the species aims to establish four separate colonies in the next 15 years in suitable habitat across the wombat’s historic Queensland range. A successful trial translocation was conducted in 2006 within the dog-proof fence at Epping Forest National Park. The trial has helped the development of techniques needed to establish a second wombat population. This involved trapping and moving two sub adult wombats to an unoccupied area of the park where starter burrows were provided. A suitable site, with the right soils, vegetation and landscape to support the wombat population, has been found near St George in southern Queensland. The site was chosen after several years of searching in central and southern Queensland using satellite imagery, soil, landform and regional ecosystem mapping, and site visits for vegetation and soil testing. A project of this scale requires the support from all the community and involves significant expense. The second site is freehold land and the owners are entering into a conservation agreement (providing legal protection) to formally secure the land for use by the wombats. The mining company Xstrata has entered into a three-year $3 million sponsorship deal partnership with the EPA. Using knowledge gained from the management of the Epping Forest National Park population and the trial move, the new release site will be suitably prepared before the wombats arrive at the new colony. Actions include: installation of a predator-proof fence; installation of supplementary feed and water stations. installation of wombat monitoring equipment; management of competitors; fire management; weed control; and preparation of wombat starter burrows. Contact Tim Holmes, Principal Project Officer, Threatened Species Unit, Environmental Proection Agency

Tammar Wallaby

The South Australian mainland sub-species of the tammar wallaby (Macropus eugenii eugenii) is listed under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) as 'extinct in the wild'. The sub-species has been extinct on mainland SA since the 1930s, due to predation by red foxes, hunting, and broad-scale clearance of preferred habitats for agriculture. However, DNA analysis showed that the mainland SA tammar subspecies survived as a feral population on Kawau Island and in scattered areas near Rotorua on the North Island of New Zealand. These populations were established in the 1800s by Governor George Grey, who had previously been Governor of South Australia. This re-discovery of a wallaby once considered extinct prompted the Commonwealth and South Australian Governments to initiate the repatriation of these wallabies. A total of 85 adult wallabies were successfully translocated to South Australia from Kawau Island in 2004. These wallabies were held in quarantine at Monarto Zoo for six months and then formed the founding stock for a captive breeding program. The primary goal of the captive breeding program is to produce sufficient stock to enable the species' reintroduction at several sites in SA. Innes National Park on lower Yorke Peninsula was chosen as the first reintroduction site. An intensive fox control program was initiated at Innes National Park in October 2003. Since November 2004, 82 tammar wallabies have been released onto Innes NP in three separate release events. PhD student Leah Kemp from the University of Adelaide has been studying the movements and habitat use of the reintroduced wallabies. The SA Department for Environment and Heritage has established a long term monitoring program to assess the success of the reintroduction. As of March 2007, there are currently 32 wallabies (17.15F) and 7 pouch young known alive on Innes NP. There are potentially another 11 wallabies surviving on the park, but their radio-collars have either failed or the wallabies were too small for collaring when captured. Two wallabies from the 1st release have survived on Innes for >28 months, 3 wallabies from the 2nd release have survived on Innes for >21 months and 22 wallabies from the 3rd release have survived on Innes for >5 months. The poor survival observed for the second release group was due to poor environmental conditions at the time of the release. The wallabies are known to be breeding, with at least 15 wallabies being born on the park. Of these 15 young, at least two are 3rd generation Innes Tammars, born by 2nd generation mothers Contact Andy Sharp or visit

Yellow-footed Rock Wallaby

Captive-bred Yellow-footed Rock-wallabies (Petrogale xanthopus) were re-introduced into areas of their former ranges in both South Australia and Queensland. 12 P. x. xanthopus bred by the Royal Zoological Society of South Australia were re-introduced to the arid-zone Aroona Sanctuary, Leigh Creek, in the northern Flinders Ranges of South Australia on September 26, 1996. The Royal Zoological Society of South Australia, NRG Flinders and the South Australian Department of Environment and Heritage undertook the re-introduction. 24 P. x. celeris bred at the Queensland Environmental Protection Agency (Charleville) were re-introduced to Lambert Pastoral Station in the semi-arid Wallaroo Ranges on August 9, 1998. The aim of the South Australian re-introduction was to trial re-introduction methods for the genus Petrogale. Tthe aim of the Queensland re-introductions was to gain insight into how captive-bred animals biologically adapt to their unpredictable semi-arid environment. Steve Lapidge monitored both reintroductions, and submitted a PhD thesis addressing these questions [click here for abstract]. Biological parameters measured in the current study suggested that captive-bred animals had adjusted to the wild by 12 months post-release, although many changes had occurred by five months or the first recapture session for re-introduced P. x. celeris. The re-introductions of P. x. celeris to Lambert Station and P. x. xanthopus to Aroona Sanctuary are judged to be successful 3 and 5 years post-release respectively, but longer-term monitoring will be required to follow the ultimate fates of the colonies. Contact Steve Lapidge.


The Mala (the central Australian subspeciesof the Rufous Hare-wallaby Lagorchestes hirsutus) (photo: Stanley Breeden) currently meets IUCN Red List criteria for 'Extinct in the Wild'. In 1998, it existed only as a semi-captive population at the 'Mala Paddock' in the Tanami Desert, NT, and some small captive populations.

Trimouille Island (part of the Montebello Islands Conservation Park, off the Pilbara coast of WA). 30 Mala were translocated from the 'paddock' In June 1998. The translocation was made possible by the eradication of black rats and the confirmed absence of cats which were recorded on the island in the 1970s. Cats have since been eradicated from nearby Hermite Island. In 1998, 30 Mala (10 males, 20 females of which 12 had pouch young) were captured at the Mala Paddock, packed two to a pet pack, driven 3 hours by 4WD to Willowra airstrip, flown to Karratha by twin-engine aircraft, and flown by helicopter to Trimouille Island, arriving just after sunset. All Mala were monitored by radio-tracked over the first 10 days after release, at 8 weeks and at 12 months. Only two Mala died during the first 12 months. Monitoring therafter was by track searches, with some hand captures to examine reproductive condition. Monitoring up to October 2000 showed that the Mala are breeding and extending their range on the island. This is a joint project between the Parks and Wildlife Commission of the Northern Territory and the Department of Conservation and Land Management, Western Australia. Monitoring up to September 2004 showed that the Mala are breeding and have extended their range to include the whole island. A recommendation to move the subspecies from ‘Extinct in the Wild’ to ‘Endangered’ is under consideration. Contact Keith Morris.

Banded Hare Wallaby

Banded Hare Wallabies (Lagostrophus fasciatus) were reintroduced to Francois Peron National Park on the Peron Peninsula, Shark Bay, in August 2001. This is the first reintroduction of this species to a mainland site. The project is comparing soft and hard release strategies for a small number of animals (~18) as a first trial, and will closely monitor their movement and survival over the next 12 months before proceeding with further releases if successful. These reintroductions are part of CALM's "Project Eden" restoration project in the park, which involves ongoing control of feral predators and herbivores (trapping, shooting and poisoning). Previous reintroductions of Woylie (Bettongia penicillata), Malleefowl (Leipoa ocellata) and Greater Bilby (Macrotis lagotis) from 1997-2000 have all resulted in good survival and breeding. Contact Colleen Sims.


The Dibbler (Parantechinus apicalis) is a small carnivorous marsupial with a distribution restricted to the south-west of WA (coastal habitats of Fitzgerald River National Park along the south coast, plus Boullager and Whitlock Islands about 300 km north of Perth). Stock from the two islands was bred at Perth Zoo, and captive-bred animals were released on Escape Island in 1998. This was a conservation introduction aimed to establish dibblers in a more secure site given that the other islands are at risk from house mice and other risks (fire, pets) associated with high visitation to the islands by people. Of the initial 26 dibblers released in 1998, 5-10 were consistently captured, and bred the following season in 1999. A further 41 captive-bred animals were released in 1999 and a further 19 in early 2000. An indication of the success of the translocation, at least in the short-term, is the 72 individuals captured in October 2000. Of these, 18 were translocated animals (4 from 1998, 11 from 1999, 3 from 2000) and 40 were born on the island (14 adults born in 1999 and 26 juveniles). All appeared in good or very good condition. Contact Dorian Moro.

Swamp Antechinus

There was a trial reintroduction of swamp antechinus (Antechinus minimus) to Anglesea heathand, Victoria, in December 1991, March 1992, and March-April 1993. The species appeared to have been exterminated from the area by the Ash Wednesday fires of 1983, as none turned up in subsequent annual trapping. The release site consisted of 10 ha of tall dry heathland and wet heaths surrounded by low woodland, and the vegetation appeared similar to that occurring before the fires. Five males and 5 females were translocated from Port Campbell (200 km to west) each year, with juveniles taken in 1991 and adults the other 2 years. The animals were captured in small Elliott traps, transported by 4WD, and usually released on the day of capture, although some were kept 2-3 days in cages. They were released in artificial burrows. Initially radio tracking was used to track the animals, then trapping session once a year for 5 years. Successful breeding was observed only with the third reintroduction attempt (the species needs to breed every year given that the male lifespan is only one year) and there do not appear to be any animals presently at release site. Some had been found within 5 km away, but are not thought to be descendents of reintroduced animals. See Aberton et al. (1994) and Aberton (1996). Contact John Aberton.

Lakeland Downs Short-tailed Mouse

The Lakeland Downs Short-tailed Mouse, Leggadina lakedownensis, occurs in arid-zone sandy ecosystems across northern Australia, and on Thevenard Island in the remote northwest of WA. This species is rarely captured on the mainland, so the island population is an important refugium for the species and is also genetically unique from northern populations. In 1996, 65 mice were translocated to Serrurier Island from Thevenard Island. The translocation was a conservation introduction performed as a security measure against the future poison-baiting of house mice on Thevenard Island. Mice were initially monitored by radiotelemetry and subsequently by trapping. Monitoring of the population two years later resulted in 344 individuals being captured, with 206 mice caught per 100 trap-nights. This is more than twice the capture rate of native mice on Thevenard IslandHigh rainfall years, coupled with the release of a high number of founder individuals, is believed to have contributed to the success of this translocation. However, this translocation can also serve as a warning of the high densities that some species can reach when introduced into environments. Contact Dorian Moro.

Shark Bay Mouse

Djoongari (Shark Bay Mouse, Pseudomys fieldi), which were previously restricted to a single island, were introduced to North West Island (135 ha, Montabello Islands, Western Australia) in 1999 and 2000. Survey in 2001 has shown that they have bred and now occupy the whole island. The translocation was part of the Montabello Islands Renewal Project involving eradication of cats and black rats and reintroduction or introduction of threatened species. Surveys up to September 2004 have shown that they have bred and have occupied the whole island since 2001.Contact Andrew Burbidge.

New Holland Mouse

Mandy Lock (PhD student) is currently in the process of releasing captive bred Pseudomys novaehollandiae (New Holland Mouse), an endangered species in Victoria, into the Anglesea heathlands. Mandy has bred 20-30 of the animals at Deakin University, and some at Melbourne zoo. She was previously trapping animals in the heathlands. Up to 40-50 were found two years ago, but this is now down to 2-5 being trapped over large area. Contact John Aberton.

Greater stick-nest Rat (Leporillus conditor)

Scotia Wildlife Sanctuary (New South Wales). 100 greater stick-nest rats were reintroduced to a 4000 ha fenced area on Scotia Wildlife Sanctuary in western New South Wales in April 2006. Approximately one third of the rats were sourced from an introduced population on Reevesby Island in South Australia, and the remainder were captive bred animals, previously held in small enclosures at Scotia and Yookamurra Wildlife Sanctuaries. A number of rats from each source population were radio collared. Significant mortality of the collared animals occurred in the first two weeks following translocation, due predominantly to pneumonia, which may have been a result of the stress of translocation and high rates of dispersal. Since this time rats appear to have settled in and have constructed stick nests. Contact Jacqui Richards, Australian Wildlife Sanctuaries.

Faure Island (Western Australia). 22 greater stick-nest rats were translocated to Faure Island Wildlife Sanctuary in Shark Bay, Western Australia, in September 2006. 16 came from an introduced population on St Peters Island in South Australia and 6 from an introduced population on Salutation Island in Shark Bay. A subset of rats were radio collared, and the South Australian rats dispersed widely, while the Salutation Island animals did not disperse far from the release site. Three of the smallest individuals died immediately post-translocation due to predation by a raptor and similar stresses of translocation. Other collared animals were located amongst dense chenopod shrublands with diurnal resting sites under dense shrubs, but no signs of nest construction were evident. Contact Jacqui Richards, Australian Wildlife Sanctuaries.

Brush-tailed Bettong (Bettongia penicillata)

Paruna Wildlife Sanctuary (Western Australia). 96 woylies or brush-tailed bettongs were translocated from 280 ha Karakamia to 2,000 ha Paruna Wildlife Sanctuary, in the Avon Valley east of Perth, in July 2006, to supplement the Paruna population. The other aim was to relieve the pressure on the high-density population at Karakamia prior to the warmer and drier summer months. 10 of the woylies were radio collared to monitor survival and dispersal for three months after release and trapping was conducted at the same time throughout the sanctuary. During post-release monitoring three woylies were killed by fox/cat and raptor predation and the remainder did not disperse far from the release site. Over 75% of the released animals were re-trapped in the three months post-release and a number of Paruna-born animals plus animals from a previous release were trapped also. Contact Jacqui Richards, Australian Wildlife Sanctuaries.

Southern Brown Bandicoot (Isoodon obesulus)

Paruna Wildlife Sanctuary (Western Australia). 37 quenda or southern brown bandicoots were translocated from development sites in the Perth metropolitan area, and a handful from wildlife carers, to Paruna Wildlife Sanctuary in 2006. These animals are monitored only during an annual survey and during targeted trapping for reintroduced woylies. Contact Jacqui Richards, Australian Wildlife Sanctuaries.

Eastern Barred Bandicoot (Perameles gunii)

On 25 June 2007, 24 (16 female, 8 male) captive-bred Eastern Barred Bandicoot’s (Perameles gunnii) were released into the Hamilton Community Parklands, Victoria, Australia. The Parklands are a 100-ha grassy woodland reserve surrounded by a predator barrier fence. A population of bandicoots was previously present here, but it is thought that it became extinct a few years ago due to difficulties in predator control. Prior to release, the predator barrier fence was upgraded and regular fence checks, maintenance and predator control now occurs; no fox incursions have been made since the release. A second release of 6 (2 female; 4 male) captive bred bandicoots occurred on 12 November 2007. These releases occurred due to confidence in keeping the reserve fox free, the presence of good quality habitat and to study habitat preference. Monitoring occurs by trapping and forms part of Amy Winnard’s PhD project on habitat suitability. During the last trapping in November, bandicoots had spread throughout the majority of the Parklands and were in good condition. Most females had pouch young and/or were weaning; for most, this was the second known litter since June 2007. From Amy Winnard.