The introduction of feral cats in the 17th century by Dutch explorers to the Australian terrain has been cited as the main reason that led to the wiping out of the marsupial population off the land. Now however, understanding their importance to the balance of the ecosystem, a team of researchers have created a protected environment for the variegated species to survive and multiply.
Burrowing bettongs, mala and golden bandicoots, once staple creatures and inert part of the Australian identity have totally vanished from the country’s landscape thanks to predators that have immensely adapted to the dry and thirsty deserts. As a result, indigenous rangers and scientists have come together to give the species a chance at revival.
The marsupials are rebirthing and multiplying in an 1,100-hectare predator-free enclosure. They are being monitored by a team from the state’s biodiversity department as a part of a larger project where researchers introduce mammals to areas once stomped by them now conspicuous by their absence. The reason for the decline was placed with predators preying on them, which prompted the creation of an enclosure not touched by them.
“Feral cats have adapted to the environment out here very well. Australia has some of the most unique animals in the world, and unfortunately we have the worst record in the world for species going extinct, ” conservation scientist Cheryl Lohr said.
The scientists working on the project aim to sustain the population and see them adapt to their new environment, thus ensuring the species survives. The enclosure is equipped with motion cameras and electrical fencing to have pull proof protection for the species still in their budding stage.
The project has already fruited bilbies and brush-tail possums outside the enclosure fence. These marsupials are essential to the balance of the ecosystem according to the scientists.