BIL­BIES RE­TURN HOME

Predator proof fence com­plete

Western Times - - FRONT PAGE - Jorja McDon­nell jorja.mcdon­nell@west­ern­starnews.com

AROUND 20 bil­bies will soon be hop­ping into their new home in Cur­rawinya Na­tional Park now that the predator ex­clu­sion fence up­grade has been com­pleted.

As part of Na­tional Bilby Day on Sun­day, En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Leeanne Enoch con­grat­u­lated staff from the Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment and Save the Bilby Fund, who had worked hard on im­prov­ing the en­clo­sure.

“The 2011 and 2012 Queens­land floods af­fected many ar­eas of our state and un­for­tu­nately caused se­ri­ous dam­age to the 25-square-kilo­me­tre bilby en­clo­sure, al­low­ing preda­tory an­i­mals to get in,” Ms Enoch said.

“Es­sen­tial re­pair work was car­ried out at the time, but we needed a long-term solution to pre­vent fur­ther in­cur­sions by feral cats.

“The ef­forts of the Queens­land Parks and Wildlife Ser­vice Rangers and Save the Bilby Fund have man­aged to cre­ate a cat-free en­vi­ron­ment for the bil­bies once more.”

An on­go­ing feral an­i­mal con­trol pro­gram will also as­sist in pro­tect­ing bil­bies into the fu­ture.

While the restora­tion and re­pair work took place, Save the Bilby Fund, along with Dream­world an­i­mal car­ers, had both been pre­par­ing bil­bies for re­lease.

Save the Bilby Fund CEO Kevin Bradley thanked the Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment and Sci­ence for its on­go­ing sup­port to save the iconic Aus­tralian species from ex­tinc­tion.

“It is en­cour­ag­ing from our per­spec­tive that we have been able to work so well with the Queens­land Gov­ern­ment and Dream­world to re­build and up­grade the Cur­rawinya bilby en­clo­sure in the face of ad­ver­sity,” Mr Bradley said.

“This is a pos­i­tive step in the right di­rec­tion as part of the on­go­ing project – in part­ner­ship with the state gov­ern­ment – to make sure bil­bies are still around in their nat­u­ral habi­tat for gen­er­a­tions to come.”

Ms Enoch also paid trib­ute to Peter McRae.

“Peter worked with the Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment and Sci­ence for 34 years and was in­stru­men­tal in the con­ser­va­tion of threat­ened species in Queens­land and the greater bilby in par­tic­u­lar,” Ms Enoch said.

“His con­tri­bu­tion to our cur­rent knowl­edge of the ecol­ogy of the out­back was tremen­dous and I know he will be greatly missed.”

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

NEW NEIGH­BOURS: 20 greater bil­bies will soon move into their new home at Cur­rawinya Na­tional Park.

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