Booming bettongs back from extinction

News article |

A small marsupial reintroduced to South Australia’s Yorke Peninsula after being locally-extinct for more than 100 years is now thriving in its new home in Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park

Booming bettongs back from extinction
Northern and Yorke Landscape Board Project Manager Derek Sandow checks a yalgi (brush-tailed bettong) pouch young, which is nearly ready to be independent from its mother. Credit: NYLB / Daniel Clarke

Latest monitoring of the brush-tailed bettongs – known as yalgiri to the local Narungga people – found 95% of the females checked had pouch young. The critically endangered marsupials were also found across three quarters of the national park, an area nearly twice the size of Adelaide’s CBD.

The monitoring team, led by the Northern and Yorke Landscape Board, captured and released a total of 143 yalgiri, with 82 born on southern Yorke Peninsula.

Returning yalgiri is part of Marna Banggara, an ambitious project to restore lost native wildlife to southern Yorke Peninsula. They were locally-extinct due to habitat destruction and the spread of introduced predators, including foxes and feral cats.

The project is jointly funded through the Northern and Yorke Landscape Board, the Australian Government, the South Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service, WWF-Australia, and Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife, in partnership with the Narungga Nation Aboriginal Corporation.

Landscape Board Project Manager Derek Sandow said more than 190 yalgiri have been released in the park since 2021, with the majority flying more than 2,000 kilometres from Western Australia, while another 2 contingents arrived from nearby Wedge Island.

“Four weeks of yalgi monitoring in November and December has revealed that the population continues to grow,” he said. “They’re travelling vast distances, especially for a small animal. Some have travelled 5km from their release site. In fact, they’re getting close to a piece of bush that links to Warrenben Conservation Park.

“If we can keep fox and feral cat numbers down, we’re hopeful that within a few years, they will move through this native vegetation corridor into Warrenben, which is about 10km away.”

Booming bettongs back from extinction

Other partners actively involved in developing and delivering Marna Banggara include Regional Development Australia, South Australian Tourism Commission, Zoos SA, FAUNA Research Alliance, BirdLife Australia, Nature Conservation Society of SA, Primary Producers SA, Primary Industries and Regions SA, Conservation Volunteers Australia, Legatus Group, Yorke Peninsula Council, Yorke Peninsula Tourism and Scientific Expedition Group.

Find out more at marnabanggara.com.au.

This is an edited extract from the news story first published 20 December 2023 by the Northern and Yorke Landscape Board.

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