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Reintroduction of the burrowing bettong Bettongia lesueur (Marsupialia: Potoroidae) to mainland Australia

Short, J. and Turner, B. (2000) Reintroduction of the burrowing bettong Bettongia lesueur (Marsupialia: Potoroidae) to mainland Australia. Biological Conservation, 96 (2). pp. 185-196.

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The burrowing bettong was successfully reintroduced to the Australian mainland in 1992 after an absence of 50 years. The population, derived from 42 individuals translocated from a remnant population on an offshore island, has persisted for over seven years on the Heirisson Prong peninsula at Shark Bay in Western Australia. It has grown to over 260 individuals that are distributed widely through available habitat. The successful management of exotic European foxes and feral cats proved crucial to the outcome of the reintroduction. Factors contributing to the successful management of predators and to a reduction in their impact included: the choice of a narrow peninsula as the site for reintroduction (permitting cost-effective use of predator-proof fencing); effective baiting (fox and cat) and trapping (cat) strategies; the maintenance of an in situ breeding colony (to provide insurance against major loss of free-range animals to predators); choice of high quality habitat (providing reasonable cover and promoting a high and relatively stable rate of increase for bettongs, even during dry years), and choice of a site that was accessible for regular management visits. An abundance of European rabbits at the reintroduction site appeared not to be a limiting factor. The success of this reintroduction has stimulated a range of other reintroductions of endangered mammals to arid and semi-arid sites across Australia, particularly to peninsulas or other sites where exotic predators can be controlled effectively.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Elsevier BV
Copyright: © 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd.
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