Noah’s Extraordinary Ark featuring some of Australia’s most endangered wildlife being created as part of an ambitious new project in Sydney
- A 500-hectare wildlife-free national park in Sydney’s west is coming
- NSW government wants locally extinct species introduced to the reserve
- Including quolls, brush-tailed phascogale & bettongs as well as emus and koalas
- The park is located between Penrith in Sydney’s west and Windsor in the northwest
The NSW government will set up a 500-hectare national park in Sydney’s west – the largest in the area in more than a decade – to nurture the country’s endangered wildlife.
The site in Shanes Park, between Penrith in Sydney’s west and Windsor in the city’s northwest, will be open to the public in 2023.
The government wants locally extinct species to be reintroduced to the reserve, including quolls, brush-tailed phascogale and bettongs, and it will be free of wild predators.
The NSW government will establish a 500-acre wildlife-free reserve for local endangered animals (pictured, the land on which the park will be located)
Emus and koalas will also be reintroduced to the area which is one of seven wildlife free areas to become or already established in NSW National Parks.
About 30 species will be returned to the land of Shanes Park, yet to be named, adding to the game-free areas in the state that benefit from more than 50 endangered species.
Specialized fencing will enclose the site, which is expected to be built within months.
Environment Minister Matt Kean says the wildlife-free area in NSW’s National Parks will soon extend to nearly 65,000 acres, with a 40,000-acre site near Cobar currently under construction.
The new park between Penrith and Windsor in Sydney’s west will be home to quolls, brush-tailed phascogale and bettongs (pictured, a spotted quoll)
“We’re announcing our own Noah’s Ark,” Mr. Kean said on Sunday.
“There will be boardwalks and walking paths and we will make this a special place for not just Western Sydney, but everyone in NSW who cares about our natural environment and native wildlife.”
He expects the new site to become a tourist destination, allowing visitors to experience Australian bushland as it was more than 200 years ago when the introduction of European species changed the food chain and flora.
“This is large-scale wildlife restoration and one of the largest urban wildlife restoration projects in Australia’s history,” said Mr Kean.
Nowhere else in the country is the reintroduction of 30 species in an urban environment of more than 500 hectares even considered, let alone realized.
The new site will also become a tourist destination, as part of a network of seven game-free regions in NSW National Parks (pictured, a phascogale)
‘A visit to 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.’
Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian said the COVID lockdowns had illustrated the importance of open public spaces for people’s physical and mental health.
“Not only will this project give the people of Western Sydney a new place to enjoy the great outdoors, but they will also gain access to a conservation area and one of the best wildlife experiences in the country,” said Ms Berejiklian.
A name for the new national park will be announced in early 2022, once Aboriginal groups have been consulted.