Gilbert’s potoroo has been the subject of a recovery program since the discovery of the only known wild population of about 40 animals at Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve in 1994. Recovery efforts are co-ordinated by the Gilbert’s Potoroo Recovery Team which includes representatives from Western Australian Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC), Perth Zoo, universities, conservation organisations and community groups.
The recovery programme encompasses managing and protecting the extant population and its habitat (including fire exclusion measures), protecting and rehabilitating bushland corridors in areas adjacent to the reserve (to aid with dispersal), eradicating feral predators (foxes and cats), and captive breeding and reintroduction.
Between 2005 and 2007, DEC translocated 10 potoroos from the original colony at Two Peoples Bay to the 809 ha predator-free Bald Island, located off the south coast of Western Australia. The population appears to be thriving, with 49 individuals being recorded in 2010, several of which were carrying pouch young. In 2010, a further nine potoroos were released into a specially built 308ha enclosure in Waychinicup National Park, 25km east of Albany. These new populations serve as insurance against extinction of the Two Peoples Bay population, and will significantly boost the chances of the species surviving in the long term.
A captive breeding facility was established adjacent to the wild population in 1994–1996, with six adults and three pouch young taken from the wild population. Few animals, however, have been successfully reared. Problems with captive propagation have not been resolved, and contributing factors may include illness, old age, immaturity, and as yet unspecified reasons. A major issue is that founder animals of the colony have died or are reaching reproductive senescence and the wild population is too small to continue withdrawing animals.
Research actions include studying the species’ ecology and biology, undertaking assisted reproduction techniques, regular monitoring of known populations plus surveys to search for additional populations.Further understanding the biology and ecology of Gilbert's potoroosResearch Project PartnersSCNRM (South Coast Natural Resource Management Inc)
previously known as SCRIPT (South Coast Regional Initiative Planning Team) Zoos South Australia Perth Zoo FAME (Foundation for Australia's Most Endangered Species Inc) Gilbert's Potoroo Action Group Inc
Post Graduate students from Western Australian universities