Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Australia completes world's largest cat-proof fence to protect endangered marsupials

Feral cats kill a million native birds every night and have caused extinction of 20 native species
Wed 23 May 2018 19.00 BSTLast modified on Thu 24 May 2018 09.31 BST

The world’s largest cat-proof fence has been completed in central Australia, creating a 94 square kilometre sanctuary for endangered marsupials.

The 44km fence – made of 85,000 pickets, 400km of wire and 130km of netting – surrounds the Newhaven wildlife sanctuary, a former cattle station that has been bought by the Australian Wildlife Conservancy.

Endangered species such as the bilby, the burrowing bettong and the mala (also known as the rufous hare-wallaby) will have a chance to replenish their populations inside the massive sanctuary, safe from Australia’s feral cat epidemic.

Feral cats kill a million native birds every night across Australia and have caused the extinction of 20 native species since they were introduced by the first fleet.

 A critically endangered mala or rufous hare wallaby in the feral predator-proof fenced area on Newhaven Wildlife Sanctuary. Photograph: Wayne Lawler/Australian Wildlife Conservancy

At a conservative estimate, AWC says cats have been killing 73,000 native mammals, reptiles and birds a year in the current fenced area in the Northern Territory.

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