A baby kangaroo has returned from the brink of extinction in Australia

The single-tailed rat kangaroo has long been listed as Critically Endangered, but appears to have been reintroduced to parts of South Australia.

Marsupials native to Australia have lived in isolated nature reserves in Australia for years, but have been successfully reintroduced to the wild as part of a new programme.

In 2021, scientists involved in the program introduced approximately 120 of these kangaroos to Delpa Goranda-Innis National Park on the York Peninsula, South Australia.

Two years later, the scientists began capturing these animals for observation and, to their delight, discovered that many of them were newborns. Forty percent of them were newborns, meaning the young marsupials are having a great time and breeding in the area.

Brush-tailed rat kangaroo

Photo: Getty Images

The cute, beady-eyed animal hops on its hind legs, just like its larger relatives. In the last 150 years, it has completely disappeared from South Australia due to habitat loss and feral predators such as the European fox and cat introduced by settlers.

The population of millions gradually declined, pushing the species to the brink of extinction. The York Peninsula experiment holds out hope that more of these animals can be reintroduced into the wild – if conservationists can control the area’s fox and feral cat populations.

“If this group survives in the long term, it will be the first successful reintroduction of this species outside of islands and fenced refuges.” WWF Australia Reintroduction Project Manager Rob Brewster said in a press release.


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