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Doubling of feral-free zones throws a lifeline to threatened species

Today’s pledge to more than double feral-proof reserves in NSW to 45,000ha is a fine way to cap a year of very positive environmental pledges by NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean. 

It comes on top of commitments to add 400,000 hectares to the national parks system, double the number of koalas by 2050, and massively expand the renewable energy sector. 

“These bold measures have rightly been applauded by the general community,” Nature Conservation Council Chief Executive Chris Gambian said. 

Mr Kean’s announcement today acknowledges the sad fact that feral-proof enclosures are the only hope for some of our most vulnerable species. 

“Until we have effective ways of controlling foxes and cats, these types of reserves will be a vital conservation strategy.” 

Feral-proof enclosures have enabled the reintroduction to western NSW of several species that had become extinct in this state, including bilbies and numbats.  

Mr Kean will reportedly announce funding today [1] to expand the feral-roof reserve system in NSW from 20,000ha to 45,000ha, including:  

  • 40,000ha at Yathong Nature Reserve near Cobar Yathong Nature Reserve near Cobar  
  • 3,000 ha Ngambaa Nature Reserve near Macksville 
  • 1500-2000 hectare enclosure in the Eden Bombala region  
  •  500ha within the Castlereagh Nature Reserve in Sydney’s north-west 

These add to sites in the Pilliga State Conservation Area and Sturt and Mallee Cliffs National Parks in the far west. 

“While feral predators are a very serious threat to some of our most vulnerable species, habitat destruction is still the leading cause of species extinction,” Mr Gambian said.  

“The leadership role being played by the National Parks and Wildlife Service is very welcome 

The next opportunity is to work with private land holders to improve conservation outcomes on farms and other private land. . 

“The majority of ecosystems and threatened populations are on private land and in state forests. 

“Species will continue to decline until government policies that encourage massive habitat destruction through excessive land clearing and logging are overturned in favour of a more balanced approach.” 


[1] 'Radical action': NSW triples size of feral-free zones to restore bush, SMH, 18-12-20  


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