Australia: the worst mammal extinction in the world
Our beautiful country has an extensive portfolio of wildlife, according to Australian Wildlife Conservancy, 87% of our mammals are only found in Australia. While this is impressive, continual threats to our wildlife has given Australia the title of having the worst mammal extinction in the world. This makes conservation even more important to the survival of many of our mammals in Australia.
A joint conservation effort between Waratah fencing and Aussie Ark has lead to the containment of an area in the Barrington Tops of New South Wales that is home to many endangered species. The 464 hectare enclosure aims to stem the flow of Australian mammal extinction and see them thrive as they did pre-European settlement.
Aussie Ark’s president, Tim Faulkner said “fences are a necessary tool for conservation in Australia, we have introduced feral pests, and if they get in with our mammals, we will have no mammals left. That is why we have the worst extinction rate”.
The 10 kilometre fence needed to do two things; keep ferals out, and natives in. There has been several keystone species that were identified as ecological entities. Some of the mammals that will coexist in this sanctuary include bandicoots, potter roos, parma wallabies, bettongs, eastern quolls and Tasmanian devils.
It has taken several years of planning to install a barrier fence that would prevents all avenues of escape. The fence needed to effectively exclude outside pressures from foxes, wild cats, pigs and roos. These animals can jump, dig and climb, so the fence needed to address all factors whilst protecting even the smallest of animals on the inside.
The intricate design of the Waratah enclosure stands over 2 metres tall, the height of the fence will prevent kangaroos from jumping over the enclosure. To stop animals from digging under the fence, an apron was used. An apron is a wire skirt added to the bottom of a fence and pinned into the ground, this blocks animals making their way under the fence.
It has been highlighted that every day 1 million small Australian mammals are killed by feral cats. Both cats and foxes are clever animals and are capable of scaling most fences. A Waratah umbrella attachment was added to the top of the fence to eliminate the potential for a feral cat or fox being able to climb the fence. The unique design of the umbrella attachment prevents animals from climbing up and under the umbrella as they are not able to keep a grip to climb onto the other side.
Tim said “One fox can decimate an entire species if it gets on the inside of the fence”. This again emphasized how important it was for the enclosure to perform without failure.
This enclosure is just one of the many conservation efforts that Waratah fencing has been involved in, and it is very exciting to see this project in full swing. In 2018, 30 new baby quolls and 48 Tasmanian devil joeys were welcomed into the world. This is just the beginning of great things ahead for this exclusion fencing project and to the reduction of mammal extinction rates in Australia.
If you would like to hear the full story, head to Waratah Fencing’s Youtube channel – ‘Aussie Ark Conservation Project – Excluding Ferals, Saving Mammals’.
Barrington Tops, New South Wales