Rewilding: a review of risks and benefits

Ross McDonnell, Treasurer, NPANSW

The NSW Government announced in February 2021 that a form of rewilding would be introduced into 4 NPWS reserves in addition to the 3 previously announced locations. What does it mean and should the community support the concept? 

In the Winter 2021 edition of Nature NSW, NPA Executive Officer Gary Dunnett wrote about the NPWS plans for the identified 7 reserves and the contracted partners University of NSW (UNSW) and Australian Wildlife Conservancies (AWC).  Additional new partners have been announced and include “local communities and Aboriginal groups, Rewilding Australia-WWF, universities, the Federal Government and other State Governments as part of an emerging national approach to rewilding”.

Re-Wilding in Review

Gary Dunnett, Executive Officer, NPA NSW

Re-wilding emerged on the Australian conservation scene atop John Wamsley’s feral-cat skinned hat.  Despite all the attention on killing cats and foxes, the core concept of rewilding is gentle simplicity itself – remove the competitors to native species, stop them from coming back, then give nature the chance to take care of itself. 

Why then, more than fifty years later, are we still grappling with whether re-wilding has a place in the NSW Protected Area Network?  I suspect the answer lies in our continuing unease about whether the environmental impacts of introducing hard barriers into ‘natural’ landscapes outweigh the environmental benefits of controlling feral species and re-introducing locally extinct wildlife.  

Federal government raises the white flag for Australia’s threatened species

Pseudo zoos and tokenistic gestures seem to be the vision for Australia’s wildlife, says the National Parks Association of NSW (NPA) on the Commonwealth’s new Threatened Species Strategy.

The strategy was announced by Environment Minister Greg Hunt at Australia’s first Threatened Species summit, held in Melbourne last Thursday (16th July).