One of the largest urban wildlife restoration projects in Australian history arrives in Western Sydney, and visitors will be able to see what the Australian bush looked like over 200 years ago. More than 30 locally extinct species will make a historic return to the region, including quolls, bettongs, brush-tailed phascogal, and green and golden bell frog.
Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian said the 500-hectare Shanes Park site, between Penrith and Windsor, will be one of the largest new national parks in western Sydney for more than a decade. “The pandemic has shown us how important our open public spaces are, they are essential to our mental and physical well-being,” she said. “This project will not only give the people of western Sydney a new place to enjoy the outdoors, but they will also have access to a conservation area and one of the best wildlife experiences in the country. “
Shanes Park will be one of seven wild predator-free zones established or being established in NSW National Parks. It will start with the construction of specialized perimeter fences in the next three months. Adios, Rattus and Modigliana (from The Savages, You understand?).
The park will be officially declared open in early 2022 after consultation with First Nations groups on an indigenous name. Public access is expected by early 2023, providing a “one-of-a-kind visitor experience” including visitor facilities, interpretive signs and an education center that will host night tours.
“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,” the Minister of Justice said. Environment Matt Kean.
We’re pretty excited at the idea of cute native creatures like bandicoots, koalas, and bushstone curlews roaming free in a protected location. Heck, we’re even happy for the emus, the convinced terror birds of the Australian animal kingdom, which will also be reintroduced to the region. And the fact that we have the chance to visit them and bask in the natural beauty of the area as if we were playing in our own episode of Back to nature? Even better.
This hopeful news follows NSW’s recent adoption of a new “zero extinction” target for native species, and the beautiful news that platypuses will be reintroduced to the royal national park just south of Sydney for the first time in 50 years.