Middle Island and Mondrain Island provide hope for endangered species

 Photo: Jennene Riggs.
Photo: Jennene Riggs.

Two remote islands in the Recherche Archipelago, east of the Esperance coast, could save two of WA’s most endangered species from extinction.

The noisy scrub-bird and Gilbert’s potoroo have a new home thanks to efforts to translocate the animals.

Five noisy scrub-birds were moved to Mondrain Island from an island near Albany in a trial of Mondrain Island’s suitability as a new home.

Six Gilbert’s potoroos from Bald Island were released onto Middle Island, following two successful trial translocations that showed the island could support the species.

Middle Island is particularly suitable because it has a good supply of truffles which potoroos eat.

The Gilbert’s potoroo is the world’s rarest marsupial, with fewer than 100 animals in existence.

Less than 1,500 noisy scrub-birds exist, all within an area between Cheynes Beach and Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve and on Bald Island.

Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said baiting under the Western Shield wildlife conservation program on the south coast had reduced attacks by foxes and cats, however, the species remained vulnerable to and their habitat had been impacted by bushfires on a number of occasions.

“For these species to persist it is vital that we continue to establish new, insurance populations where they can breed and prosper without the threats they face on the mainland,” he said. 

“The McGowan Government is committed to working with partners and the community to conserve threatened species in WA, backed up by world’s best practice science and on-ground management actions.”

The Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions translocated the species, with funding from South Coast Natural Resource Management and the Commonwealth Environment and Energy Departments for the potoroo translocation

The Gilbert’s Potoroo Action Group also supported the translocation of the potoroos.