Theme 4.00

Reintroductions and refugia

Species close to extinction require special effort in the hope that new opportunities to deal with threats in the wild may emerge and increase their chances of survival.

Intensive management of threatened species involving zoos, fenced enclosures, nest boxes, translocation of individuals and quarantine from disease is expensive. Research is urgently needed to improve the cost-effectiveness of conservation interventions.

This theme will focus on: 

  • 4.1 Translocation, reintroduction and conservation fencing for threatened fauna 
  • 4.2 Saving species on Australian islands 
  • 4.3 Increased security of threatened plants through translocation 
  • 4.4 Improved management of refugia in the landscape
Related Projects

Translocation, reintroduction and conservation fencing for threatened fauna

Project: 4.1
Whether moving species into fenced areas, intensively managed habitats or outside its previous habitat - translocating threatened species presents a number of challenges. This project will research the most feasible and cost-effective translocation strategies to boost the size and long-term viability of wild populations. This will include improved planning for, and implementation of, translocations of mammals, birds, reptiles and frogs.

Learning from mammal translocations

Project: 4.1.3
Australian Wildlife Conservancy is undertaking a major project to re-establish populations of 10 regionally-extinct mammals, including nine threatened species, at Mt Gibson Wildlife Sanctuary, Western Australia. The reintroductions will integrate monitoring and research activities in order to improve the conduct of future reintroductions in Australia.

Assisted colonisation of Australia’s rarest reptile: The western swamp turtle

One of Australia’s rarest reptiles, the western swamp turtle, is being challenged by the rapidly drying climate in the southwest of Western Australia, which continues to marginalise its already fragmented habitat. In a world first, this project is field-testing the viability of introducing this Critically Endangered species to wetlands more than 300km south of its native range, in an effort to mitigate the negative impacts of climate change.

Optimising the timing for assisting the colonisation of threatened montane frogs

In this project, we are developing optimisation models for two Endangered species (the northern corroboree frog, and Spencer’s tree frog) to determine the ideal timeframe for when each species could be relocated to suitable habitats that are currently outside their natural range.

Improving conservation outcomes for critically endangered white-bellied frogs

White-bellied frogs are a critically endangered species that are endemic to the Margaret River region of Western Australia. The species has undergone continued population declines, despite careful management. This project will target knowledge gaps around factors contributing to population declines, as well as better resolve the specific habitat and hydrological requirements of this species.

A decision tool for evaluating whether ex situ management is appropriate for a threatened species

Project: 4.1.5
Ex situ management (e.g., captive breeding) can be used to increase the viability of a species in the wild by supplementing or creating wild populations. This research project will create an accessible decision tool to aid decision-making and planning for ex situ management of threatened species.

Can assisted gene flow increase the resilience of terrestrial-breeding frogs to a drying climate?

Assisted gene flow is an emerging method to aid species to adapt to new conditions, such as those created by climate change. It involves the movement of individuals (or their genes) from one population to another. This project will investigate whether assisted gene flow could enhance the resilience of two species of non-threatened amphibians from the south-west of Australia to increasingly dry conditions.

Genetic management and population modelling of translocated fauna

This project focuses on the genetic management of mammals translocated as part of a major restoration project underway on Dirk Hartog Island that is led by Western Australia’s Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA). Focal species include the Shark Bay bandicoot, the banded hare-wallaby and the dibbler.

Enhancing ecosystem function by reintroductions of digging mammals

Project: 4.1.7
Many of Australia’s threatened species, such as bettongs and bandicoots, are considered ecosystem engineers due to the important functional role they provide in landscapes. Digging mammals can substantially influence ecosystem processes, such as soil turnover, litter decomposition and plant recruitment, by creating burrows for shelter or foraging pits when searching for food.

Understanding genomic variation in the western ringtail possum for adaptive conservation

Project: 4.1.8
The western ringtail possum is Critically Endangered. It faces numerous threats that have resulted in highly fragmented populations, including habitat loss, predation by introduced predators and climate change in the south-west of Australia.

Reintroduction plan to rescue the northern eastern bristlebird

Project: 4.1.12
The ecologically unique northern population of the eastern bristlebird is among the most threatened Australia birds. This project will develop an emergency action plan that will guide on-the-ground actions to stop the decline, increase the wild population and directly improve long-term persistence.

Saving species on Australian islands

Project: 4.2
This project will help shape on-ground actions on Australian islands – which are havens for threatened species. It will develop information to more effectively protect Australia’s island biodiversity and create safe refuges for species at risk.

Creation and analysis of a national database of threatened species on Australian islands

Project: 4.2.1
Islands hold many unique species and ecosystems, but are greatly impacted by invasive species that can cause native species to go extinct or be threatened. This project is establishing a national database of threatened species across all of Australia’s islands, which is helping fill these knowledge gaps, as well as beginning the process of understanding how to best conserve our island-based plants, animals and ecosystems.

Optimising feral animal control to benefit threatened species on South East Queensland Islands

North Stradbroke Island –or Straddie– has important environmental and cultural values, many of which are being negatively impacted by invasive species, specifically European red foxes and feral cats. This research project aims to support invasive species eradication planning on Minjerribah by gathering relevant local knowledge about eradication strategies, feasibility, community values and time preferences, in order to better inform management objectives.

Post-eradication monitoring on Macquarie Island

Project: 4.2.3
Sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island has been the object of Australia’s most ambitious and expensive eradication program ending in 2014, with cats, rats, mice and rabbits eradicated. This project will examine different aspects of species and ecosystem recovery on the island following the eradication program

Norfolk Island threatened species conservation

Project: 4.2.4
Norfolk Island features a wide diversity of endemic species of flora and fauna, many of which have become threatened. Declines have largely been caused by historical land clearing and the introduction of invasive species of plants, mammals, birds and other species. This research seeks to examine the mechanisms driving native plant recruitment, along with an assessment of flora–fauna interaction networks, particularly native plant interactions with invasive weeds, rats and chickens. It will identify and quantify key threats and barriers to recruitment of native plant species.

Protecting threatened quolls and other biodiversity on Kimberley islands from cane toads

Project: 4.2.5
This research will use existing data to predict future invasion by cane toads of Australian islands, particularly the Kimberley islands. This information is important for prioritizing surveillance action on these islands in order to conserve toad-sensitive species such as the endangered Northern Quoll.

Threatened plant translocations

Project: 4.3
Translocations are being increasingly used in threatened plant recovery programs. The outcomes of past translocation programs have often been poorly documented or unpublished. This makes it hard to learn from the past experiences, to adapt and improve techniques in response to outcomes or to determine if investments have been worthwhile.

Identifying and managing refuges from threats

Project: 4.4
Refuges are important to many species, as they allow many species to survive environmentally stressful times, like droughts, fires and disease outbreaks. While fixed refuges like mountain tops can be easy to identify, many species rely on temporary refuges which move in time and space.

Threatened bird conservation in Murray-Darling Basin wetland and floodplain habitat

Project: 4.4.7
This project is designed to build a better understanding of how threatened bird species use the wetland and floodplain environments of the Murray–Darling Basin.

Mapping distributions, threats and opportunities to conserve the greater glider

Project: 4.4.8
This project will inform landscape management actions and recovery planning for the greater glider across its whole range by mapping threats and opportunities for management, and improving predictions of species’ persistence and range changes.

Using detection dog techniques to conserve Queensland’s Endangered montane species

Project: 4.4.11
Three Endangered species survive only in tiny populations in small areas of particular mountain ranges in Queensland: two mammals ranked in the top 20 Australian mammals most likely to go extinct (the carnivorous marsupials black-tailed dusky antechinus,