Reintroduction of Native Fauna
There are a number of examples of apparently successful reintroductions of native animals to parks and reserves in the Melbourne region:
Whilst re-establishment of native fauna in areas where they have become locally extinct continues to be a high priority of wildlife management, encouraging natural recolonisation rather than artificial reintroduction is generally the recommended management action (e.g. Larwill et al. 1991, Meredith et al. 1991). Reintroduction of native fauna requires permits for collection and relocation issued by the Wildlife Division, DCNR. In general, reintroductions are only considered by the DCNR as part of a management plan for species which are endangered or threatened.
- reintroduction of Koalas and Eastern Grey Kangaroos to Yarra Valley Park (introduced in 1985, Larwill et al. 1991)
- reintroduction of Sugar Gliders to Organ Pipes National Park (introduced in 1989-91)
- reintroduction of Swamp Skinks to wetland sites in the southeast of Melbourne (introduced 1994)
In order to satisfy the requirements of DCNR for granting the appropriate permits a full
proposal would have to be prepared. Questions that would need to be adequately answered in a proposal for reintroduction of native animals to Herring Island include:
In order to satisfy DCNRs requirements, Melbourne Parks and waterways would also need to prepare a post-release monitoring program and provide guarantees for its implementation.
- Is it part of the species former range?
- Does the species still occur at the site?
- Do the causative factors for the species original decline still apply?
- What are the potential impacts on the species at the proposed site for collection?
- Is the island (or the area of suitable habitat) big enough to sustain viable populations of the reintroduced species in the long-term?
A recent example of a reintroduction proposal was the proposed reintroduction of Southern Brown Bandicoots to Braeside Park by Melbourne Parks and Waterways. The proposal had in its favour:
Under these advantageous circumstances. permission was granted by the relevant authorities at DCNR after much deliberation, but not before the target species became locally extinct at the threatened collection sites.
- a regionally threatened target species
- existing and nearby refuge sites under threat by development
- low predator numbers at the proposed site for reintroduction
- predator proof fencing at the proposed site for reintroduction
- ; comprehensive management plan at the proposed site for reintroduction
- full time conservation rangers at the proposed site for reintroduction
- large areas of similar habitat to the proposed sites for collection
- an undertaking. by the Healesville Sanctuary to operate a captive breeding program
Given these rigorous requirements it is unlikely that Melbourne Parks and Waterways would be able to prepare a viable proposal for reintroduction of native species to the island. Nor is it immediately clear that such a proposal would have any benefits for conservation. Nearby sites, such as Yarra Bend Park. have higher levels of conservation management and significantly greater areas of hi-h quality habitat. From the conservation management perspective, these areas would be preferred to Herring Island as possible sites for reintroduction of native wildlife.
Reintroduction of native wildlife is not recommended for further consideration.