Everyone loves WA’s charismatic emblem, the numbat. But while zoo breeding and translocation programs make news, there are fears for Australia’s most important numbat population, in Dryandra Woodland in WA’s Wheatbelt.
Dryandra’s numbats and another, less genetically diverse, population at Perup near Manjimup, are Australia’s only remnant numbat populations.
Feral cats have devastated these creatures and other vulnerable native fauna ever since the State Government’s Western Shield baiting program reduced the number of foxes. As numerous studies show, regional waste tips, often inadequately managed, create habitat for feral predators, especially cats.
This is bad news for numbats because local shires are planning a regional putrescible waste tip just 6km from the edge of Dryandra Reserve, in easy reach of a spreading cat population. Worse, State-funded cat control research at Dryandra is winding up, and given cats prefer live prey, which is available all year at Dryandra, there is a little hope that a new bait called Eradicat® will manage the problem.
Scientists have grave fears for several listed threatened species in the area including woylies and black cockatoos.
Lynn is working closely with the many local people opposed to the tip and dedicated volunteers from the Numbat Task Force in calling for a better solution for the shires’ waste. A site that is not within 10km of six nature reserves and over a valued groundwater supply would be a good start.