22 January 2018…An exciting partnership project between the Peel-Harvey Catchment Council (PHCC), Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) and Project Numbat is providing support to landholders near the Dryandra Woodland to control feral animals on their properties to protect threatened native animals.
Dryandra Woodland is a National Park and is located in the upper reaches of the Peel-Harvey catchment, straddling the Shires of Narrogin, Cuballing, Williams and Wandering. The woodland is one of WA’s most valuable nature conservation reserves as it is home to unique native flora and fauna species, including the threatened woylie (Bettongia penicillata) and Western Australia’s state mammal emblem, the numbat (Myrmecobius fasciatus). Dryandra is the largest remnant of original vegetation in the western wheatbelt and the only area left in WA where Numbats live where they have not been re-introduced. The former Threatened Species Commissioner had a particular affinity with our Numbats and, in putting their vulnerability into context, used to quote that Numbats are rarer than Black Rhino’s.
Numbats are one of the 20 mammals identified in the Commonwealth Government’s Threatened Species Strategy. The Strategy acknowledges the role farmers and private landholders play in the conservation of our native animals and it has an ambitious target of culling 2 million feral cats across Australia by 2020.
Monitoring at Dryandra shows that feral cats and foxes are coming into the woodland through adjacent bushland and farmland areas, and woylie and numbat populations were continuing to decline. In response the DBCA introduced the Dryandra Numbat Woylie (Predator Control) project in 2015 and began working with the community, and collaborating with neighbouring landowners to assist to protect these iconic mammals. The Predator Control project enabled some complementary feral predator control initiatives to be introduced in addition to the ongoing baiting to control foxes. The Farmers 4 Fauna is enabling greater support for Farmers to be involved, with over 70 Farmers attending the launch of the project.
The PHCC and Project Numbat are now engaging with surrounding landholders who are enthusiastic about playing a significant role in the protection of our native animals through the Farmers 4 Fauna project. By applying this coordinated approach across public and private land, PHCC, DBCA, Project Numbat and the Farming community aim to increase the number of native animals in, and around the Park and minimise risks to agriculture from disease and predation by foxes and feral cats.
The Farmers 4 Fauna project is already seeing the Farming community band together towards this common goal. Farmers around Dryandra now have access to free cat traps and 1080 baits which have been provided to the Shires of Cuballing, Narrogin, Wandering and Williams. Training and licensing support is also being provided, as well as events and field days which will continue to bring the Farming community together to share information and success stories. Monitoring will continue to assess the impact of the actions and focus efforts to areas of most need.
PHCC Chairman Andy Gulliver said – “The Farmers 4 Fauna project is a great example of how successful partnerships can achieve fantastic things for our community and our environment. This project will result in meaningful support for some of our most treasured native species, in one of the most significant bushland remnants remaining across the West Australian Wheatbelt. We thank both the DBCA and Project Numbat for all their hard work in the development and initiation of this great project, and our Farming community for their enthusiasm in playing a key role in protecting our native animals”.
This project is supported by the Peel-Harvey Catchment Council through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme.
Media Contact: Jane O’Malley, Chief Executive Officer, Peel-Harvey Catchment Council, Jane.Omalley@old.peel-harvey.org.au, (08) 6369 8800
We acknowledge the Noongar people as Traditional Custodians of this land and pay our respects to all Elders past and present