One Of Australia's Cutest Marsupials Returns To Island After Going Extinct

One of Australia's smallest marsupial species will be reintroduced to Dirk Hartog Island National Park in Western Australia -- the first time since going extinct from the area centuries ago.

More than 20 dibbler joeys will be released on the island, which last year became the world's largest island to have cats, sheep and goats fully eradicated.

The dibblers will be microchipped, while 12 will be fitted with radio collars so researchers can track their movements to identify habitat preferences, which will help guide future conservation efforts.

The 24 joeys were born at Perth Zoo from three adult dibblers collected at Jurien Bay islands earlier this year.

Since 1997, more than 900 dibblers have been bred and released into the wild. The dibbler was once found as far north as Shark Bay in Western Australia, including Dirk Hartog Island.

Image: AAP

They are one of 10 native species lost from the area following European settlement and the introduction of sheep, goats and cats.

"The additional release of dibblers at Dirk Hartog Island will help the habitat return to what it once was in 1616 and offers security to a species that would have struggled to survive," WA environment minister Stephen Dawson said on Tuesday.

“Dibblers may be small, but these carnivorous marsupials play a very big role in the ecosystem, they are both predator and prey, and also pollinators in their habitat.

“Thank you to the collaborative efforts by the dedicated staff at the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions to save this endangered species.”

  • With AAP