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New Western Sydney National Park welcomes return of locally extinct species
One of the largest new National Parks created in western Sydney in over a decade will see quolls, bettongs and the brush-tailed phascogale among locally extinct species making a historic return to the region.
The new 500 hectare site at Shanes Park between Penrith and Windsor is being created as a feral predator-free area with construction of specialist perimeter fencing expected to begin in the next three months.
Once complete The new National Park will be declared in early 2022 following consultation with local Indigenous groups on an Aboriginal name.
Introducing the new National Park this morning, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian stated “the pandemic has shown us how important our open public spaces are, they are critical to our mental and physical well-being.
“This project will not only allow the people of western Sydney a new place to enjoy the outdoors but they will also get to access a conservation area and one of the nation’s best wildlife experiences.”
NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean said the new Shanes Park site will become a tourist destination and will allow visitors to see what the Australian bush was like over 200 years ago.
Minister Kean advised “this is wildlife restoration on a grand scale and one of the biggest urban wildlife restoration projects in Australia’s history
“No where else in the country is the reintroduction of 30 species in an urban setting of over 500 hectares even being considered, let alone being delivered.”
“Visiting Shanes Park will be like stepping back in time to see the Australian bush alive with native animals as it was before foxes, cats and rabbits had such a devastating impact.”
The new National Park will enable visitors to see and experience some of our most unique, threatened and endangered wildlife and habitats in the heart of Western Sydney.”
Shanes Park is one of seven feral-free areas either established or being established in NSW National Parks providing a conservation benefit to over 50 threatened species.
Minister Kean added “a network of predator-free areas is an essential part of our strategy to protect and restore our most vulnerable native species and this new project will bring the total feral-free area in NSW national parks to almost 65,000 hectares.”
Public access to the new National Park is expected by early 2023 which will include a one of a kind visitor experience including visitor facilities, interpretive signage and an education centre which will run nocturnal spotlighting tours.
Of the 30 species to be reintroduced the following will be given priority: Brown Antechinus, Eastern Bettong, Eastern Quoll, Southern Long-nosed Bandicoot, New Holland Mouse, Brush-tailed Phascogale, Common Dunnart, Bush Rat, Emu, Koala, Bush Stone-curlew and the Green and Golden Bell Frog.
Up to 20 additional locally extinct and declining reptile and frog species will also be reintroduced into Shanes Park.
In addition to Shanes Park, three other feral predator free areas are planned:
- Yathong Nature Reserve, near Cobar Central NSW, fenced area approx. 40,000 hectares
- Ngambaa Nature Reserve, near Macksville North-east NSW, fenced area approx. 3,000 hectares
- South-east NSW (Eden Bombala Region), estimated fenced area approx. 1,500 to 2,000 hectares
Existing feral predator free areas:
- Pilliga State Conservation Area, near Baradine North-west NSW, fenced area 5,800 hectares
- Sturt National Park, near Tibooburra Far North-west NSW, fenced area 4,000 hectares
- Mallee Cliffs National Park, near Buronga South-west NSW, fenced area 9,570 hectares
Images: The Shanes Park site (top), the endangered Eastern Quoll (middle) and houses at the new national Park's boundary (below).
8th September 2021 - NSW National Parks set target of zero extinctions of species
25th August 2021 - Hills Shire Council supports plan for green corridor
23rd June 2021 - Environment, parks and tourism secure new funds in NSW budget
5th May 2021 - NSW National Parks opt for digital passes
16th March 2021 - NSW Government announces funding for parks and play
18th January 2021 - NSW national parks receive major infrastructure investment
15th January 2021 - Blue Mountains’ Wollemi Pines declared asset of intergenerational significance
10th January 2021 - Rehabilitation work continues on endangered Blue Gum High Forest
1st November 2020 - NSW Government doubles goal for expansion of national parks estate
29th September 2020 - Amended plan paves way for Tomaree Coastal Walk and improved visitor experiences
24th September 2020 - Bilbies returned to Sturt National Park after 100 year absence
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