MEDIA RELEASE: Funding a game changer for critically endangered Northern Hairy-Nosed Wombats

MEDIA RELEASE

Hairy-Nosed Day May 11th

Funding a game changer for critically endangered Northern Hairy-Nosed Wombats

A collaboration between The Wombat Foundation, Department of Environment and Science and the Australian Wildlife Conservancy

The Wombat Foundation is proud to announce its successful application for a $248,000 grant under the Commonwealth’s Environment Restoration Fund – Threatened Species Strategy Action Plan – Priority Species Grant program.

The northern hairy-nosed wombat (NHW) is listed as Critically Endangered under both the Queensland Nature Conservation Act 1992 and the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and is listed as one of the 100 priority threatened species under the Australian Government’s Threatened Species Strategy Action Plan 2021-2026.

Over the past 30 years, the NHW Recovery Program, led by the Queensland Department of Environment and Science (DES) and supported by key stakeholders, including The Wombat Foundation, has seen great success.  During this time, NHW populations have increased from 35 individuals in the 1980s to over 300.

The essential components of this success have been the increased understanding of the species’ requirements, protection of habitat, exclusion of predators, securing of food and water resources, and establishing a second population.

Although the species’ current trajectory is promising, it remains arguably the most critically threatened mammal in Australia.

The risk of extinction is high due to more than 95% of NHWs located at a single location on Epping Forest National Park (Scientific; EFNP) and the remaining 15 individuals protected in a small, translocated population at Richard Underwood Nature Refuge (RUNR).

This project supports not only the protection and expansion of the current populations but also the preparation work required to establish a new population, that will move the species further from the risk of extinction.

“This project uses knowledge collected over 30 years of research and management, to support and expand on the existing management actions, proven to achieve results, and continue the upwards trajectory of NHW,” Director of The Wombat Foundation, Leanne Brosnan, said.

“The funding provided for this project will mark a key turning point in the conservation of this incredible species, through measures to both support existing populations and also ensure a sustainable future through improved management strategies.”

Threatened Species Director at the Department of Environment and Science, Dr Manda Page, said the project further supports the expansion of the NHW recovery program that had been delivered by dedicated staff, volunteers, industry, and the community for many years.

“The Department welcomes this financial support from the Australian Government and is looking forward to partnering with TWF and AWC on this important project,” Dr Page said.

The project will deliver a number of crucial on-ground actions identified as priorities as detailed in the NHW Recovery Action Plan (2022), drafted by the NHW Recovery Team, and include

  • Improvements to the existing dog-proof fence at Epping Forest National Park.
  • Improved genetic health and size of the RUNR population
  • Improved habitat, and informed predator and competitor management strategies

“Project partners of The Wombat Foundation on this project include DES and Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC) who are working together to meet the goals outlined in the NHW Recovery Action Plan. Supporting this project will increase the capacity and speed of the Recovery Program,” Ms Brosnan said.

Background:

Hairy-Nosed Day May 11th

Hairy-nosed Day is celebrated each year on 11th May to raise awareness of the NHW and the hard-working staff and volunteers that support the recovery of this critically endangered species.  You can support the program by wearing your whiskers on May 11th and by donating to The Wombat Foundation so they can continue their important work.

Acknowledgment

This project received grant funding from the Australian Government’s Environment Restoration Fund

Contacts

Leanne Brosnan

Director The Wombat Foundation

Footage of a Northern Hairy Nosed Wombat

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