The ultimate goal of a breeding program for native species is to get the wild population back to a point that the program is no longer needed at all!
Perth Zoo has run several other breeding programs that are now suspended. They include the Chuditch, Shark Bay Mouse (Djoongari) and Lancelin Island Skink.
The Chuditch (Dasyurus geoffroii), or Western Quoll, is one of four carnivorous quoll species in Australia and is the largest native/marsupial predator in Western Australia. At the time of European settlement, Chuditch ranged across (approx.) 70% of the continent. By the late 1980s, there were fewer than 6,000 remaining only in south-west Western Australia.
Coupled with a fox abatement program, the successful Chuditch breeding program run at Perth Zoo resulted in the species being reclassified from Endangered to Vulnerable. 315 Chuditch were released at locations including Julimar State Forest, Lake Magenta Nature Reserve, Cape Arid National Park, Mount Lindsay National Park and Kalbarri National Park.
Over the life of the breeding program, valuable knowledge was gained on the reproductive cycle and growth of Chuditch and their metabolic physiology.
Shark Bay Mouse
Prior to 1993, the only remaining population of the Shark Bay Mouse (Pseudomys fieldi), or Djoongari, was on Bernier Island adjacent to the Shark Bay region of Western Australia’s central west coast. It was considered one of Australia’s most geographically restricted animals, and was classified as endangered.
Perth Zoo bred 346 Djoongari for the (then) Department of Environment and Conservation and the Australian Wildlife Conservancy to release to sites on Doole Island Nature Reserve (Exmouth), North-west Island (Montebello Island group) and Faure Island (Shark Bay). The Djoongari's conservation status has now been improved to the point that the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species currently lists them as vulnerable.
Lancelin Island Skink
Lancelin Island Skinks(Ctenotus lancelini), are endemic to a small island off the lower mid-west coast (Western Australia) near the town of Lancelin. The IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species lists the species as ‘Vulnerable’.
The first Lancelin Island Skinks were brought into Perth Zoo in 1995 and breeding took place until 2000. Between 2002 and 2004, 165 Lancelin Island Skinks, including 152 bred at the Zoo, were released onto a small island near Jurien (off the mid-west coast of Western Australia). The island has suitable habitat and is free of cats and rats.
Monitoring of the Lancelin Island Skinks in 2009 indicated that they had established and were breeding successfully.