The first ever release of bilbies into Mallee Cliffs National Park in the State's far south-west is an historic moment, which is expected to boost the world population of bilbies by more than 10 per cent.
The NSW Government has been working with the Australian Wildlife Conservancy over the past three years to plan and prepare a 9,570 hectare enclosure for bilbies and nine other 'extinct' native mammals, allowing them to roam, free from predation by cats and foxes.
NSW Minister for Environment, Matt Kean, said feral cats were one of the biggest threats to our native animals, killing about 3.1 million mammals in Australia every year.
"Bilbies are a loved and iconic Australian animal that has been extinct in the wild in NSW for over 100 years. We have an opportunity to bring them back to NSW national parks by using special fenced off areas and it's important we do this," Mr Kean said.
"Through the NSW Government's Saving Our Species program, this release is the first of many at Mallee Cliffs National Park that sees us turning around the extinction rates for our native animals."
AWC Chief Executive Officer, Tim Allard said the construction of the large feral predator-free fenced area was one of the only ways to secure the future of many of Australia's most threatened mammal species.
"Without the threat of introduced predators, we expect the animals to flourish and the landscape to regenerate to how it was before European settlement and the introduction of cats, foxes and grazing animals which have devastated our native animals and their habitat," Mr Allard said.
"By the end of this project, visiting Mallee Cliffs will be like venturing into nature's time capsule."
Hear more about the project here