- Dozens of dibblers complete 800 kilometre journey to Dirk Hartog Island
- Release of endangered marsupials part of Return to 1616 project
- Predator-free environment gives tiny animals freedom to breed
One of Australia's rarest marsupials has had a population boost, with 28 dibblers released at Dirk Hartog Island National Park.
The marathon mission saw the precious cargo, bred at Perth Zoo, travel 800 kilometres by road, plane and helicopter over the weekend.
Staff from the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions released 16 males and 12 females in optimal conditions for their welfare just before sunset.
This is the fourth dibbler release on Dirk Hartog Island since 2019. Another 16 dibblers will be added next month, taking the total number to 137.
The species once thrived on the island until feral animals wiped them out. It was feared dibblers were extinct for half a century, before being rediscovered near Albany in 1967.
The Return to 1616 project has seen the reintroduction of rufous hare-wallabies, banded hare-wallabies, Shark Bay bandicoots, Shark Bay mice, greater stick-nest rats and western grass wrens.
Under the program, Dirk Hartog Island has become the world's largest island to have feral cats, sheep and goats eradicated. Find more information on the Return to 1616 project here
Comments attributed to Environment Minister Reece Whitby:
"It's a privilege to visit the beautiful Dirk Hartog Island and be part of this exciting release under the ambitious Return to 1616 project.
"Watching these tiny marsupials venture into their new predator-free home gives hope for their long-term survival.
"It's great to see our staff working together to create natural sanctuaries and securing the future for native species."