Numbats

It's tiny, cute and incredibly rare. For 35 years, the Department of Parks and Wildlife's Tony Friend has been working to save the numbat.

Today, the tiny marsupial is officially endangered, but it once lived along Australia's entire south coast.

Tony says "when the fox was introduced into Victoria it moved across and basically the numbat disappeared in front of it as it came across and so we're just left with populations left in WA."

After decades of work, the threat of foxes has been hugely reduced but the numbat's battle for survival is far from over.

"Feral cats are the single biggest threat to anything smaller than a mid-size wallaby and that moves on the ground." Australia's first threatened species commissioner, Gregory Andrews.

Right now, almost 2000 Aussie natives are at risk of being wiped out forever, Perth Zoo is determined numbats won't be one of them.

"It is going to be a fight for a while, and that's why our breeding program is set up at Perth Zoo." Senior Zoo keeper Dani Jose leads the program: the only one of its kind.

Since it started in 1993 Perth zoo's breeding program has seen almost 200 numbats released into the wild and today there'll be ten more let go right here in the Dryandra Woodlands.

The Numbats depend on their mums for about six months; all the while human contact is kept to a minimum.

By October, it's time to start prepping them ready for release; with the chips implanted its back to their enclosures for a few more weeks.

It's a big event for a tiny marsupial. With each release spot specially chosen it's a trek through the bush to reach them.

Then, it's time to let them go. For the zoo, the cycle starts all over again, for another year but for these lucky critters, they're finally home.

 

For more information on how you can help the numbat conservation project.

http://perthzoo.wa.gov.au/act/wildlife-conservation-action/