Industry environmental offset funding facilitates a large multi-species fauna translocation program

Judy Dunlop, Andrew Smith, Allan H. Burbidge, Neil Thomas, Neil A. Hamilton, Keith Morris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Worldwide deterioration in natural communities has led to an increased use of fauna translocations to improve conservation status and restore ecological function. However, few translocation programs have sufficient resources to involve multiple species and destination locations with appropriate threat management and monitoring before and after release. As part of conservation actions to mitigate impacts of the Chevron Australia Gorgon liquefied natural gas project on Barrow Island Nature Reserve, biodiversity offset funding was provided to benefit species impacted by the development. Animals were translocated from three islands to two mainland locations in Western Australia. We aimed to: (1) improve conservation status and security of several threatened species; and (2) contribute to reconstruction of pre-European fauna assemblages. Nine hundred and seventy five individuals of six mammal and two bird species were translocated. These included 421 golden bandicoots (Isoodon auratus barrowensis), 111 spectacled hare-wallabies (Lagorchestes conspicillatus conspicillatus), 105 Barrow Island boodies (Bettongia lesueur ssp. Barrow Island), 104 brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula hypoleucus), 62 mala (Lagorchestes hirsutus ssp. Tanami), 88 djoongari (Pseudomys fieldi), 37 black and white fairy-wrens (Malurus leucopterus edouardi) and 47 spinifexbirds (Eremiornis carteri). Of 11 new populations, only two failed to establish; attributed to native and feral predators. Additional populations of four species of threatened mammal (one of which has now been reduced in conservation listing) and one species of threatened bird were established. To our knowledge, this is the largest translocation effort ever undertaken in Australia and is a rare example of an offset that has provided tangible threatened species benefit.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalPacific Conservation Biology
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Jul 2021

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