The Dirk Hartog Island National Park Ecological Restoration Project reached a significant milestone with a trial release of 24 native animals during the last week of August 2017.
Twelve rufous-hare wallabies and 12 banded hare-wallabies were captured on Bernier and Dorre Islands and taken by boat to the southern part of Dirk Hartog Island where they were released. Scientists are monitoring the released animals with the aid of radio and GPS collars fitted to the animals prior to release. The banded hare-wallabies have spread far and wide while the rufous hare-wallabies remain close to the release site, and a joey has appeared among the translocated animals.
This exciting development was possible because it is highly unlikely there are any feral cats left on the island. Further monitoring is necessary before eradication can be declared successful, but scientists believe they are on track to declare eradication of both feral cats and goats by August/September 2018.
Another round of translocations will follow declaration of eradication in 2018. Scientists expect to translocate more hare-wallabies from Bernier and Dorre islands and also release captive-bred dibblers.
Perth Zoo will use wild dibblers caught on the Jurien Islands to breed animals for release onto Dirk Hartog Island in 2018. There will be a second dibbler release onto the island in 2019, this time with mothers and young released together.
Please be careful if you’re driving on Dirk Hartog Island, especially between Cape Ransonnet and Tetradon Loop between dusk and dawn – there may be hare-wallabies on the track.