WWF-Australia has welcomed the not-for-profit Rewilding Australia into its ranks, as part of its bold Regenerate Australia program to restore degraded landscapes and reverse the decline of native wildlife.
Experts from Rewilding Australia will be part of a dedicated unit within WWF-Australia to deliver major rewilding projects, including the continued reintroduction of eastern quolls to mainland Australia and the return of brush-tailed bettongs to South Australia’s Yorke Peninsula after an absence of more than 100 years.
Rewilding is a conservation method that involves reintroducing lost species to natural environments to restore ecosystems and create more resilient landscapes.
WWF-Australia’s Head of Healthy Land and Seascapes, Darren Grover said: "We’re delighted to welcome the expertise and experience of Rewilding Australia into the WWF fold. We look forward to continuing current projects and scaling ambitious new programs to reintroduce lost species and enhance natural ecosystems that will help rewild Australia.”
“We must be prepared to take bold actions, to innovate, and to embrace new techniques in order to reverse the decline of Australia’s wildlife and wild places. Rewilding is one of these bold actions, and is essential to Regenerate Australia following the 2019/20 bushfire crisis,” said Mr Grover.
WWF-Australia has worked with Rewilding Australia for many years on a flagship program to reintroduce a population of eastern quolls from Tasmania to Booderee National Park on the NSW South Coast. The species had been missing from mainland Australia’s ecosystems for over half a century.
This quoll population in Jervis Bay has continued to survive and breed, despite being threatened by last summer’s catastrophic bushfires.
Director of Rewilding Australia, Rob Brewster said: “We’re excited to join WWF, an organisation that shares our vision for restoring and protecting the iconic and keystone species that are so important to Australia’s ecosystems.”
Mr Brewster said one of the first projects as part of WWF-Australia would be another planned release of eastern quolls at Jervis Bay.
The WWF rewilding unit will also be a key partner in the groundbreaking Marna Bangarra project, which aims to return up to 20 native species to the southern Yorke Peninsula to restore the area to its former ecological glory.
This will begin with the reintroduction of the locally extinct brush-tailed bettong in the autumn of 2021.
“Reversing local extinctions is never easy and there’s a lot of hard work ahead, but we’re excited to be joining the WWF fold and partnering with governments, ecologists, land managers and Traditional Owners to help end Australia’s extinction crisis. It’s a bold vision, but together we can rewild Australia,” said Mr Brewster.