Great Southern Ark: the Rewilding of Southern Yorke Peninsula
The Great Southern Ark project has evolved from ten years of Community Action Planning and substantial community engagement.
The purpose of the project is to develop a safe haven for Australia’s most threatened species, restore habitat and improve agricultural productivity. Reintroduction of key native species is the key to managing the iconic vegetation of southern Yorke Peninsula. These species will reinstate the necessary ecological processes to maintain the condition of bushland.
To enable species reintroductions, the ongoing control of feral predators (foxes and cats) is required. To maximize the cost efficiency of the predator management program, strategic fencing will be constructed across the Peninsula to limit reinvasion by foxes and cats.
Over the next 20 years, the project seeks to reintroduce the Woylie (Brush-tailed Bettong), Southern Brown Bandicoot, Red-tailed Phascogale and Western Quoll. The project also aims to augment the Peninsula’s population of Barn Owls. The purpose of the Great Southern Ark project is to develop a safe haven for Australia’s most threatened species.
It is anticipated that restoring the peninsula’s small native predator species (Red-tailed Phascogale, Western Quoll, Barn Owl) will drive improvements in agricultural productivity through the control of pest species; rabbits and house mouse. Reduced mouse populations would result in reduced damage to crops and reduced on-farm management costs (baiting). The active management of feral cats will reduce the occurrence of toxoplasmosis and sarcosporidiosis in the environment, leading to increased lambing rates and better returns on sheep carcasses.
The reintroduction of highly interactive native species will value-add to the peninsula’s identity as an ecotourism destination, providing new opportunities for low-impact tourism and make a significant contribution to the District’s economic viability and the retention of local services.
Care has gone into choosing appropriate native species to reintroduce to ensure no negative impact on agricultural production or the community.
For further information about the Great Southern Ark project, contact the Natural Resources Centre in Clare on 8841 3400 or email DEW.NRNY@sa.gov.au.
Northern and Yorke NRM Board
WWF Australia, Zoos SA, FAUNA Research Alliance, Birdlife Australia, Nature Conservation Society of SA, Yorke Peninsula