South West animal relocation needs more care: Experts

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Ailish DelaneyBunbury Herald
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New research is calling for more care when relocating animals such as the western ringtail possum for developments.
Camera IconNew research is calling for more care when relocating animals such as the western ringtail possum for developments. Credit: Michael Wilson/WA News

Researchers are calling for more resources, time and expertise to be put into the relocation of animals during site development and clearing processes.

Curtin University lead researcher Holly Bradley said the review found the end target seemed to be the release of animals, rather than long-term successful establishment of those animals at the release sites.

“We also found there’s a trend in releasing animals without a prior feasibility study and monitoring afterwards to see if they survive,” she said.

Ms Bradley said the issue was important for the South West because of its status as a biodiversity hotspot.

We have the highest concentration of rare plants and animals in the whole country, and unfortunately we also have an extinction crisis where we are one of the biggest contributors to species lost in the world as a country.

“One of the ways we’re trying to stop more loss of wildlife is through translocation in the South West, however, what we need to understand is that the greatest protection to our threatened species is protecting natural areas.

“If all other methods of prevention of biodiversity loss aren’t applicable and translocation does need to occur, then where we have such a high concentration of rare species we need to carry out our translocation to a high standard so we know the species are surviving when we move them.

“It looks like in the South West that mitigation translocation seems to have followed the same crisis responses that we’ve seen around the world, where there’s a real rush to move animals away from where there’s development without stopping to undertake planning and feasibility analysis to see where the animals should go.”

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