The eradication of ‘every last rabbit, cat and fox’ provided the foundation for the reintroduction of native animals to Sturt National Park, in NW NSW.
Two reserve areas, totaling 40 sq kms, are now supporting populations of greater bilbies, crest-tailed mulgara and Shark Bay bandicoots, after they disappeared from the area over 100 years ago.
A further 100 sq kms is being used as a ‘training ground’ to expose native animals to low numbers of predators, so the natives can learn about feral predators and develop the skills needed to survive outside of fenced reserves.
It is a great story of endeavour and achievement at personal and organisational levels. Reserves like this provide an amazing look at landscapes that vanished a century ago. They also underline the critical importance of rabbit control if we are to see the recovery of Australian landscapes outside of highly managed reserves. Rabbit control is fundamental to vegetation recovery, and to curtailing the number of predators which are an additional threat to small animals.
For more information on the program and the people behind it, see ABC TV’s Australian Story ‘Into The Wild’ (April 11, 2022) on iview.