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Joint Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
SA Minister for Environment and Conservation
SA Minister for the Southern Suburbs
SA Minister Assisting the Premier in the Arts
TheHon John Hill

4 November 2004

'Extinct' wallabies return to Innes National Park

Twenty Tammar wallabies that were previously thought to be extinct have been released into Innes National Park, about 70 - 80 years after being wiped out on mainland South Australia.

Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage Senator Ian Campbell and South Australian Minister for Environment and Conservation John Hill said the re-introduction of the species was one of the most significant environmental events of the decade.

"This exciting recovery project has been supported with more than $340,000 from the Australian Government's Natural Heritage Trust, and with funding and in-kind contributions from the South Australian Department of Environment and Heritage, the Royal Zoological Society of SA, Marsupial Cooperative Research Centre, the University of California, Unisense, Monarto Zoological Park, Adelaide Zoo, and the Department of Conservation New Zealand," Senator Campbell said.

"This has been a unique opportunity to return an extinct species back to the wild and restore a significant component of the biodiversity of the Southern Yorke Peninsula," Minister Hill said. "The re-introduction represents a second chance at survival for an Australian native animal."

The mainland SA sub-species of Tammar wallaby is listed as "extinct in the wild" under the Commonwealth's Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (1999) .

The release was possible because a population of Tammar wallabies was established on Kawau Island, New Zealand by former South Australian and New Zealand Governor, Sir George Grey. Sir George shipped several individuals of this species to his island residence over 100 years ago to be part of his private collection.

Tammars are the smallest wallaby species, weighing between 5 and 7kg. They were the first macropods to be sighted in Australia by European explorers. The species is classed as a 'Specified Noxious Animal' in New Zealand, where the Department of Conservation has recommended the removal and eradication of all introduced wildlife from Kawau Island.

"A team of local experts will conduct careful long-term monitoring of the Tammar wallaby population in Innes National Park following release," the Ministers said.

The wallabies will also be radio-collared for ongoing monitoring.

Commonwealth of Australia