Recovery Programs

Numbat Recovery Plan 1994

Written by the Numbat Recovery Team, the Numbat Recovery Plan lays out the threats facing Numbats in the wild and what needs to be done to save them.

Department of Environment and Conservation Western Shield Program

By the late 1970s, Numbats had become so rare that research was undertaken by Department of Environment and Conservation scientists to identify the species’ requirements and the problems they face. The research, conducted in Dryandra and Perup—the last strongholds of the Numbat—involved the use of radio-tracking equipment to learn more about where and when the Numbats fed and rested; individual Numbat home ranges; and the impact of predators.

Launched in 1996, the Western Shield program is working to bring at least 13 native fauna species back from the brink extinction by controlling introduced predators, namely the fox and the feral cat.

Baits using the naturally occuring poison 1080 controls these numbers without poisoning native animals. The poison occurs naturally in native plants called gastrolobiums or ‘poison peas’ and native animals have a high tolerance to the poison whereas introduced animals do not.

In areas that have been baited, there has been a reduction in the number of introduced predators and an increase in the number of native fauna. Captive-bred numbats are released into predator-free areas that are covered by the Western Shield program.

As part of its wildlife recovery activities, DEC manages fire frequency and intensity in protected areas.

Perth Zoo’s Native Species Breeding Program

Perth Zoo has been breeding Numbats for release into the wild since 1986. Until 2010, 160 Numbats had been provided by the Zoo to the Department of Environment and Conservation for release into protected habitats. Over this time, research has been carried out into the physiological specialisations, visual capabilities and growth and development of the young by university students and staff members.

A predator awareness training program has also been developed to enhance the chances of survival of young released into the wild. The Native Species Breeding Program also breeds a number of other threatened Western Australia animals for release, such as Western Swamp Tortoise and Dibbler.

Numbats bred at Perth Zoo have been reintroduced in six reserves where they once occurred in the south-west of Western Australia.

Australian Wildlife Conservancy Species Reintroductions

Australian Wildlife Conservancy is a national organisation that is dedicated to the conservation of Australia’s wildlife. This is achieved through purchasing land to establish predator-free sanctuaries; implementing conservation programs; conducting scientific research; and raising public awareness.

Numbats may be found in the following sanctuaries:

  • Karakamia Sanctuary (Western Australia)
  • Scotia Sanctuary (New South Wales)
  • Yookamurra Sanctuary (South Australia)