Aussie Ark no place for pests

Hunter Local Land Services has been working closely with the renowned conservation organisation – Aussie Ark, in the Barrington Tops, to ensure the important ecological site remains free of pest animals.

Feral animals including pigs and foxes are known to be a primary driver of extinction in Australia; which as a nation holds the highest extinction rate on earth. The specialised conservation organisation, is committed to providing sanctuary for our threatened native wildlife; free from the unnatural pressures they are currently facing in the wild. The facility is the largest of its type on mainland Australia and encompasses pristine wilderness on the edge of the Barrington Tops National Park. Native fauna such as the endangered Eastern quoll, Long-nosed potoroo, Rufous bettong, Parma wallaby, Tasmanian devil, Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby all now call Aussie Ark home.

The Hunter Local Land Services Biosecurity team undertook pest animal management training with the Aussie Ark staff, to assist them in protecting the area from invasive predators such as the fox and cat, along with other harmful pest species including pigs.

The Hunter LLS team was successful in eradicating the last known fox to exist within a sanctuary onsite, allowing fauna to now be released into the area, and thrive without fear of predation.

Aussie Ark Manager Will Hansen said the work of the Hunter Local Land Services Biosecurity Officers has helped further secure the breeding program.

“This is a conservation project of national significance, and thanks to the assistance of Hunter Local Land Services we have been able to further enhance our program, and provide an even safer home for our breeding populations for the animals in our care,” said Will.

“The professionalism, safe practices and around the clock responsiveness of the Biosecurity Officers has helped to control pests within and on the boundaries of the Ark.

“As a small, not for profit organisation, being able to utilise these services and work together to eradicate pest animals from this important habitat is of huge benefit to us and the animals we are working hard to save.”

Hunter Local Land Services Biosecurity Team Leader Luke Booth said while there may be just a few pests being targeted by this latest program, the results are invaluable.

“This is a very important venture being undertaken at the Barrington tops – in fact it may well be the key for these threatened species’ to survive, so even just one fox not controlled within enclosures could have had dramatic effects,” said Mr Booth.

“It was very encouraging to see our staff succeed and that we could actively play a positive role in this significant conservation project.

“We will continue to work closely with Aussie Ark to ensure this site remains protected and well supported to undertake this significant breeding program.”

Jonathan Randle holds an Eastern Quoll

Hunter LLS Biosecurity Officer Jonathan Randle with an endangered Eastern Quoll at Aussie Ark.

Richard Ali holding a Tasmanian Devil

Hunter LLS Biosecurity Officer Richard Ali with a Tasmanian Devil at Aussie Ark in the Barrington Tops.

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