New Western Sydney National Park Welcomes Return of Locally Extinct Species

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One of the largest new national parks established in western Sydney in over a decade will see quolls, bettongs and brush-tailed phascogales among locally extinct species make a historic return to the region.

The new 500-hectare site at Shanes Park between Penrith and Windsor is being created as a wild predator-free zone with construction of specialized perimeter fencing expected to begin within the next three months.

Once completed, the new national park will be declared in early 2022 after consultation with local indigenous groups on an indigenous name.

Introducing the new national park this morning, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said “The pandemic has shown us how important our open public spaces are, they are essential to our mental and physical well-being.

“This project will not only give the people of western Sydney a new place to enjoy the outdoors, but they will also have access to a conservation area and one of the best wildlife experiences in the country. “

NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean said the new Shanes Park site would become a tourist destination and allow visitors to see what the Australian bush looked like more than 200 years ago.

Minister Kean said “this is a large-scale wildlife restoration and one of the largest urban wildlife restoration projects in Australian history.

“Nowhere else in the country is the reintroduction of 30 species in an urban environment of more than 500 hectares even considered, let alone delivered. “

“Visiting Shanes Park will be like stepping back in time to see the Australian bush living with native animals as it was before foxes, cats and rabbits had such a devastating impact.”

The new national park will allow visitors to see and experience some of our most unique, threatened and endangered habitats and wildlife in the heart of western Sydney. “

Shanes Park is one of seven wildlife-free zones established or being established in NSW National Parks, providing a conservation benefit to more than 50 endangered species.

Minister Kean added “A network of predator-free areas is an essential part of our strategy to protect and restore our most vulnerable native species and this new project will bring the total wildlife-free area to New Zealand’s national parks. -South Wales to nearly 65,000 hectares “.

Public access to the new national park is expected by early 2023, which will include a one-of-a-kind experience, including visitor facilities, interpretive signs, and an education center that will host events. night visits.

Among the 30 reintroduced species, the following will have priority: Brown Antechinus, Eastern Bettong, Eastern Quoll, Southern Long-nosed Bandicoot, New Holland Mouse, Brush-tailed Phascogale, Common Dunnart, Bush Rat, Emu, Koala, Bush Stone -the curlew and the green and gold bell frog.

Up to 20 other locally extinct and declining reptile and frog species will also be reintroduced to Shanes Park.

In addition to Shanes Park, three other areas free from wild predators are planned:

  • Yathong Nature Reserve, near Cobar Central NSW, fenced area approx. 40,000 hectares
  • Ngambaa Nature Reserve, near Macksville in North East New South Wales, fenced area approx. 3,000 hectares
  • South East New South Wales (Eden Bombala region), fenced area estimated at approx. 1,500 to 2,000 hectares

Existing areas free from wild predators:

  • Piliga State Conservation Area, near Baradine in northwest New South Wales, fenced area of ​​5,800 hectares
  • Sturt National Park, near Tibooburra Far North-west NSW, 4,000 hectare fenced area
  • Mallee Cliffs National Park, near Buronga in southwest New South Wales, fenced area of ​​9,570 hectares

Images: The site of Shanes Park (top), the endangered Eastern Quoll (middle) and the houses on the edge of the new national park (bottom).

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