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Published On: 08 Apr 2024

Excitement as eight more Eastern bristlebirds join the wild ones

To help protect one of Australia's rarest birds, eight captive-bred eastern bristlebirds were released into the wild to join the critically endangered northern population this year.

This brings the number of captive-bred birds released in the past year to 23.

Eastern bristlebirds were once a common sight in southeast Queensland, eastern NSW and Victoria, but numbers have plummeted to less than 2,500 in the wild.

The northern population remains very small, estimated at fewer than 50 individuals living in isolated pockets across the Border Ranges region of north-eastern NSW.

Further releases of captive-bred birds will be required to supplement the wild population.

The northern population was counted at just 15 individuals at its lowest point a couple of decades ago. But with long-term habitat restoration work, which is now being delivered through NSW's Saving our Species (SoS) project, the wild population is slowly increasing, with the captive-bred birds providing an extra boost to numbers.

Learn more about what we do here at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary to save bristlebirds from extinction.

NSW Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW) is coordinating the bird releases through the SoS program, in partnership with Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary and private landholders.

Multiple actions support the wild population's recovery. SoS works closely with dedicated private landholders to recreate ideal bristlebird habitat through weed control, canopy thinning and fire management, while the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) helps with fire management.

The now one-year-old birds were carefully bred at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. The breeding program focussed on ensuring maximum genetic diversity, and the specialist team at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary played a vital role in the 'soft-release' stage, including facilitating comprehensive health checks for each bird before being transported.

Upon release, each bird is fitted with a radio telemetry device, for tracking purposes and will be monitored for 30-50 days.

Want to help more bristlebirds get back into the wild?

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