To mark the New Year, Zoos SA has released its five conservation wishes for 2021…
“As a conservation charity we have a number of conservation wishes for 2021. Despite everything 2020 has thrown at us, we continued to work tirelessly and will continue to do so. It’s the reason our organisation exists,” says Zoos SA Conservation Manager, Dr Liberty Olds.
One such conservation wish is the continuation of work on Kangaroo Island. A year on from the disastrous bushfires that rampaged through South Australia, Zoos SA continues to work alongside other conservation organisations on Kangaroo Island to assess and to safeguard species such as the Kangaroo Island Dunnart.
“Continuing our breeding programs for the critically endangered Orange-bellied Parrots and endangered Tasmanian Devil and the release of near-threatened Greater Stick-nest Rats and critically endangered Brush-tailed Bettong are just some of the conservation programs we are currently working on. We support many other conservation projects directly or indirectly in both Australia and beyond,” continued Liberty.
“If wishes really can come true, then granting further success with these five conservation programs in 2021 will greatly help us to save species from extinction,” finished Liberty.
Zoos SA started sending veterinary and conservation teams over to Kangaroo Island after the bushfires of late 2109 to attend to sick animals and to assess habitat damage. Work came to a standstill for the charity in March as the COVID-19 pandemic was in full swing.
Since resuming work on the island, Zoos SA has partnered with organisations such as Kangaroo Island Land for Wildlife, landholders and stakeholders to set up fauna traps and monitor species numbers.
“We dug pitfall traps in an area of unburnt land to assess wildlife numbers after the bushfires. The team has gone over to Kangaroo Island a number of times and we’ve found a number of species,” said keeper Gemma Asser, one of the Zoos SA staff members who has worked on the island.
“Unfortunately, we are yet to catch any Kangaroo Island Dunnarts, but they have been seen on camera traps so we know they are in the area.
“Our wish for 2021 would be to find the critically endangered Kangaroo Island Dunnart and start work to help re-establish numbers which were already decimated prior to the bushfires,” finished Gemma.
Other programs that Zoos SA has pinned their wishes on are the continued breeding of the critically endangered Orange-bellied Parrots. This year, a record number of Orange-bellied Parrots returned to Melaleuca – one of Zoos SA’s wishes would be for even more to return and breed in 2021.
Zoos SA also works with many partner organisations across Australia to breed a tumour-free population of Tasmanian Devils including The Save the Tasmanian Devil Program to assist with the captive breeding and release recovery program.
This partnership has already seen some of Monarto Safari Park’s joeys released into the wild, disease-free populations on Maria Island, just east of Tasmania.
When it comes to Greater Stick-nest Rats, no less than 40 have been released into the wild after being bred at Adelaide Zoo and Monarto Safari Park as part of a vital conservation program. Recently, a collaborative translocation plan in conjunction with the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and independent not-for-profit organisation Australian Wildlife Conservancy saw the rats released into Mallee Cliffs National Park. Our wish for 2021 would be to see more Stick-nest Rats released into the wild in 2021
Finally, Zoos SA is part of a conservation program to bring locally extinct species back to Yorke Peninsula working with our partners through Marna Bangaara.
A team of Zoos SA staff will be involved in the reintroduction of Brush-tailed Bettongs in the coming year. Zoos SA’ wish is to see the successes of the program continue with the next species to be brought back from extinction.
Zoos SA’s five conservation wishes for 2021
- To continue to assess and to find the Kangaroo Island Dunnart
- To breed and reintroduce more Orange-bellied Parrots
- To contribute more Tasmanian Devils to the disease-free mainland population
- To see more Stick-nest Rats released into the wild in 2021
- To reintroduce Brush-tailed Bettongs into the Yorke Peninsula
As a conservation charity, Zoos SA operates Adelaide Zoo and Monarto Safari Park. Both sites are open every day of the year. All members and visitors are requested to book online at www.zoossa.com.au/ to avoid disappointment.