The Morrison Government is providing further protection for threatened species with a $6.78 million expansion of Australia’s network of environmental safe havens.
Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley announced a new grants round for safe havens while visiting Frahn’s Farm in South Australia’s Mount Lofty Ranges, where fencing around 135ha has turned once weedy grazing land into a grassy woodlands supporting an abundance of endemic woodland birds.
“Safe havens are fenced areas and islands, where invasive predators like feral cats, foxes and other threats, are permanently removed to provide long-term protection for native species,” Minister Ley said.
“They play a critical role in the fight against extinction and in establishing insurance populations.
“We want to invest in visionary projects that protect our native mammals at risk of extinction from foxes and feral cats so we can extend the network of safe havens across the country.”
Under the Australian Government’s Threatened Species Strategy, 10 feral free fenced projects either established or well advanced with the support of the Commonwealth government, other government, philanthropy and private sector funding.
Additionally, five islands have been identified under the Strategy for feral cat eradication. Feral cats have been successfully eradicated from Dirk Hartog island in Western Australia with threatened wildlife now being reintroduced back to the island safe haven.
The Morrison Government has already this year announced a further key safe haven on Flinders Island in South Australia and more investment in French Island in Victoria and the new grants round is expected to significantly increase the network.
“Safe havens are already helping to protect treasured native species and migratory birds and mammals the Golden Bandicoot, Numbat and Mala to name just a few,” Minister Ley said.
“They provide valuable scientific data on longer-term means of species’ recovery, can be a springboard for the future reintroduction of once locally extinct populations.”
Member for Barker Tony Pasin said that Frahn’s Farm, on what was once crown land, is an example of how safe haven style strategies could transform an area.
“This has been a local project supported by a range of partners, including the Federal Government, and driven by the local community,” he said.
“It is an example of how people can work together to take practical environmental steps that support our native species.”
Funding priorities under the $6.78 grants round will be given to projects protecting nationally-listed mammal species that are highly susceptible to predators, and are either not currently protected in a safe haven, or are protected in only one haven.