A project to pro­tect Dryan­dra’s num­bat pop­u­la­tions has re­ceived a na­tional con­ser­va­tion award pre­sented in the pres­ence of the Duchess of Sus­sex Meghan Markle.

Narrogin Observer - - Front Page - Michael Traill

The fight to con­serve WA’s an­i­mal em­blem, the num­bat, has re­ceived a royal boost with Dryan­dra’s Num­bat Task Force re­ceiv­ing the Con­ser­va­tion­ist of The Year Award.

Num­bat Task Force went from be­ing “a joke” among friends to re­ceiv­ing the pres­ti­gious na­tional award from the Aus­tralian Geo­graphic So­ci­ety and meet­ing one of the world’s most prom­i­nent fig­ures — Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sus­sex.

Founders of Num­bat Task Force, Robert McLean and John Law­son, ac­cepted the award on Fri­day, Oc­to­ber 26, for their cam­paign which pre­vented the Great South­ern Re­gional Waste Group from es­tab­lish­ing a land­fill only kilo­me­tres away from Dryan­dra wood­lands in 2015.

They also man­aged to gift the Duchess of Sus­sex a stuffed toy num­bat as a way pro­mot­ing the fight to save the highly en­dan­gered species.

Mr McLean said that if the land­fill had gone ahead, it would have drawn more cats to the area and dev­as­tated the lo­cal Dryan­dra num­bat pop­u­la­tion.

Mr McLean, speak­ing to The Ob­server on World Num­bat Day, said that feral pre­da­tion and bud­get cuts posed the big­gest risks to num­bats, which num­ber less than 1000.

“Peo­ple have got to want to do it (save num­bats) and peo­ple have got to want to make gov­ern­ments do it,” he said.

“It’s got to be peo­ple, write to your min­is­ters, tell them what you think, the whole com­mu­nity has got to want to save the en­vi­ron­ment and the an­i­mals that live within it.”

The fight to prevent the land­fill in Cuballing was Num­bat Task Force’s first “hands on” cam­paign; ini­tially started as a so­cial me­dia page to pro­mote and ad­vo­cate num­bat con­ser­va­tion.

Re­cently the group has raised $350,000 to train a cat de­tec­tion dog that will help au­thor­i­ties man­age feral cat pop­u­la­tions.

It’s got to be peo­ple, write to your min­is­ters, tell them what you think. Robert McLean

Pic­ture: James Morgan

Meghan Markle hold­ing Num­bat Task Force’s gift and Dick Smith.

Pic­tures: Michael Traill

John Law­son and Robert McLean in Dryan­dra.

Pic­ture: Robert McLean

Num­bats shel­ter­ing in the for­est.

A num­bat spot­ted on World Num­bat Day in Dryan­dra.

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