15184: Securing the survival of the Greater Stick-nest Rat in Western Australia
Populations of small to medium-sized mammals have collapsed across Australia since European settlement. Mammal declines have been primarily caused by predation by feral cats and foxes. Larger native rodents, such as the stick-nest rats, have been particularly vulnerable to predation by feral cats. Both species of stick-nest rat were exterminated from the mainland by the 1930s. Only a single population of the Greater Stick-nest Rat (Leporillus conditor) (GNSR) survived, on the Franklin Islands SA. This species is classified as Vulnerable by the Commonwealth and WA governments.
Following decades of reintroduction effort, viable populations of GSNR now occur on three islands in South Australia and Salutation Island in Shark Bay, WA, as well as one "mainland island" (a fenced area free of feral predators) at Arid Recovery, SA. This project aims to establish the first mainland island population of GSNR in Western Australia inside a large (7832 ha) fenced feral predator-free area on Mt Gibson Wildlife Sanctuary, WA. The project involves the translocation of GSNR from Salutation Island WA to Mt Gibson. The purpose of the translocation is to establish a viable, genetically diverse population that is able to tolerate the climatic conditions on Mt Gibson. The population on Salutation Island was established by translocation from South Australia in 1990; environmental conditions on Salutation Island are broadly similar to Mt Gibson. Subject to approvals including pre-harvest monitoring of the Salutation Island population by WA Department of Parks and Wildlife scheduled for September 2016, the translocation is planned for late 2016 - mid 2017. Provided sufficient animals are available, up to 50 GSNR will be translocated from Salutation Island to Mt Gibson, where they will be released in the feral predator free area. The survival of translocated animals will be monitored with camera traps.
|Investment:||$ 31 100|
|In-kind contribution:||$ 71 300|
|Delivery organisation:||Australian Wildlife Conservancy|
|Project duration:||June 2016 - June 2018|