It’s no secret Australia’s native animals could use a helping hand, particularly after the 2019 bushfires. It seems the NSW government is aiming to rectify that with the announcement of a new national park coming to western Sydney.
A 500-hectare site at Shanes Park has been selected for the new reserve, which is being touted as one of the biggest urban wildlife restoration projects in Australia’s history.
“Nowhere else in the country is the reintroduction of 30 species in an urban setting of over 500 hectares even being considered, let alone being delivered.” Environment Minister Matt Kean said in a statement.
“Visiting Shanes Park will be like stepping back in time to see the Australian bush alive with native animals as it was before foxes, cats and rabbits had such a devastating impact.”
Animals like quolls, bettongs and brush-tailed phascogale are just some of the locally extinct and endangered species that will find a home at the new park.
A feral predator-free area with special perimeter fencing is being established and will begin construction in the next three months. The park is expected to be open to the public by early 2023.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the new park will have benefits for both the local wildlife and the people of western Sydney.
“This project will not only allow the people of western Sydney a new place to enjoy the outdoors but they will also get to access a conservation area and one of the nation’s best wildlife experiences.”
The park will include a dedicated visitor experience with facilities, interpretive signage and an education centre that will run night-time spotlighting tours.
An Aboriginal name for the new national park will be announced in 2022, following consultation with First Nations groups.
This announcement comes shortly after the news last week that Australia’s Eastern Barred Bandicoot has been brought back from extinction, showing just how important these conservation efforts are.