Let’s face it, right now it feels like there just aren’t that many good news stories around. Many of us are avoiding our news feeds altogether, since getting stuck in endless doomscrolling can leave us feeling a little low.

But, when it comes to top-notch conservation efforts in NSW national parks, there are lots of wins to celebrate.

We reckon that nature has special powers to inspire us and transform our mindsets, so we’ve rounded up some of the best news stories from the past year. These heartwarming reports from national parks across the state will lift your spirits and remind you of all that’s good in the world.

  • 1/6

    Protecting brush-tailed rock-wallabies from the bad guys

    After their numbers declined to just 12 wallabies, it was going to take a swift response to help save the genetically important population of brush-tailed rock-wallabies in Warrumbungle National Park. This population is considered extra special by conservation scientists, because it’s adapted to living in hotter, drier climates – something that will become even more important in the face of climate change.

    To protect the wallabies from feral predators one of the key threats to this species in the park, our team has installed more than 300 hectares of fencing, making sure feral pests like foxes and cats can’t get in. This gives the brush-tailed rock-wallabies the best chance of surviving and thriving out in the wild.


    The only known remaining brush-tailed rock-wallaby in
    Mount Kaputar National Park was also relocated to this predator-free haven in the Warrumbungles. Once we’ve successfully controlled the fox population in Mount Kaputar, we plan to return a healthy population of wallabies to the region.

    Over in Kangaroo Valley, our team has partnered with Saving our Species and Friends of the Brush-Tailed Rock-Wallaby to help keep a spring in the step of the local endangered brush-tailed rock-wallaby population. We were delighted to record 42 adults across two colonies during the 2022-23 monitoring season, including a young chap named Yalonga. Yalonga has now been fitted with a satellite tracker, which will help us understand more about the movement of juvenile male wallabies as they mature and find their feet.

    Did you know? You can peek into the world of brush-tailed rock-wallabies from our live stream camera set up in the Green Gully area of Oxley Wild Rivers National Park.

  • 2/6

    Platypuses are officially loving life in their new home

    Platypuses hadn’t been seen in Royal National Park for 50 years (unless you count sightings on 20 cent coins), and the species had, very sadly, been considered locally extinct. Last year we set out to revive the once-thriving population by reintroducing ten platypuses into Royal’s waters as part of an important project to preserve and protect the park’s unique biodiversity.

    Less than a year later, a team of conservation experts captured a juvenile platypus in the Hacking River, confirming the platypuses are settled in their new home, able to successfully breed and officially loving life (to use the technical term). After a thorough health check, the young female platypus – adorably known as ‘puggles’ – was returned to the river. She’s been named ‘Gili’ by the local Indigenous community, which means flame in Dharawal language.

     

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    A post shared by UNSW (@unsw)

    The teams at UNSW Sydney, Taronga Conservation Society Australia and WWF Australia, with support from NSW National Parks, also recently confirmed the original ten platypuses are still active, happily exploring rivers and creeks within Royal National Park.

  • 3/6

    Puppy park rangers are hot on the heels of a soil-borne disease

    What’s better than two cute doggos? Two cute doggos with expertly-trained snouts to sniff out a dangerous disease that’s putting our native plants at risk – that’s what!

    With the potential to infect thousands of native plants, Phytophthora cinnamomi  – a soil-borne water mould – can cause permanent damage to vital ecosystems and destroy the habitat of local wildlife.

    Thankfully, Alice and Echo – a springer spaniel and Brittany spaniel – are on the case. They’ve been on a 12-month boot camp to learn how to distinguish between infected and non-infected plants.

    We don’t usually allow pups in parks, but we’ll make an exception for this dynamic duo. Once they’ve finished their training, they’ll be deployed to test soil in Barrington Tops National Park and Scheyville National Park, where Phytophthora poses a worrying threat to several threatened plant species. The pooches will make it easier and quicker for conservation experts to detect the pathogen and put measures in place to stamp it out.

    This two-year project is in collaboration with Saving our Species, Tate Animal Training Enterprises, Royal Botanic Garden Sydney Plant Clinic, University of Sydney and Northern Beaches Council.

  • 4/6

    Shell-ebrations galore for tiny turtles released on Country

    Tiny loggerhead turtle hatchlings were returned to the ocean just off the NSW Central Coast after a big rescue operation last year.

    The 79-day-old eggs were in trouble after the sand dipped to a temperature too chilly to keep them safely incubated. Our experts made the call to relocate the eggs to Taronga Zoo’s Wildlife Hospital, to give them a fighting chance of making it through.

    Adult loggerhead turtle swims underwater. Photo credit: Penny Drury / DCCEEW
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    Just keep swimming.

    Penny Drury / DCCEEW

    Loggerhead turtles are endangered and – with this nest only one of two laid on NSW beaches during the breeding season – the stakes for their survival were high.

    Teaming up with Darkinjung Local Aboriginal Land Council, the hatchlings were released back on home Country at Shelly Beach, following a smoking ceremony to safely send them off on their next adventures.

    The delicate mission was a huge team effort, with NSW TurtleWatch, Central Coast Council and Marine Wildlife Rescue Central Coast also pitching in to help.

  • 5/6

    Fledgling regent honeyeaters bring music to our ears!

    There are less than 300 regent honeyeaters remaining in the wild – making the conservation stakes for this much-loved and critically endangered songbird very high indeed.

    A breeding program – which meticulously breeds the birds in captivity and then carefully releases them into the wild, under the right conditions – is seeing soaring success, with a trio of regent honeyeater chicks recently hatching in Capertee National Park and surrounds. The most recent breeding season is the largest since 2017, producing more than a dozen nests and at least 16 fledglings.

    A regent honeyeater perched on a tree branch. Photo credit: Mick Roderick / DCCEEW
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    Unique! That’s what you are.

    Mick Roderick / DCCEEW

    To date, the breeding program – a conservation partnership between the Saving our Species program, Taronga Conservation Society Australia and BirdLife Australia – has released 140 regent honeyeaters into the wild in NSW. We can’t wait to hear more sweet news about this honeyeater.

  • 6/6

    Frogging good news all round

    The southern corroboree frog may be tiny, but it’s got superstar status in the frog world. Unfortunately, this miniature yellow-and-black striped frog is critically endangered – under threat from the deadly chytrid fungus – and we’ve been on a mission to boost numbers in the wild.

    Last year 100 southern corroboree frogs were released into a special, purpose-built enclosure in Kosciuszko National Park as part of a large-scale captive breeding and insurance program, bringing the total number of frogs released in the region to 200. Keeping the frogs in this protected enclosure means they have a much better chance of survival while we wait for their numbers to increase.

    The beautiful black and yellow stripes of the southern corroboree frog. Photo credit: David Hunter / DCCEEW
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    Dress code: stripes.

    David Hunter / DCCEEW

    Meanwhile, up in the beautiful Border Ranges, nestled between NSW and South East Queensland, we’ve stepped in to help four species of mountain frogs: Philoria richmondensis, Philoria kundagungan, Philoria loveridgei and Philoria knowlesi. We’ve given three of these four frogs special conservation status and fancy titles, declaring them Assets of Intergenerational Significance. This means dedicated conservation management plans have been put in place to give them the best protection.

    In other areas of the Northern Rivers we’re working to control pesky feral pigs, which have taken an unfortunate liking to our froggy friends. In partnership with our mates at Queensland National Parks and Local Land Services, we’ve been fencing off key areas and carrying out a trapping and baiting program to remove 200 pigs from the frogs’ habitat.

    A conservation breeding program is also underway, led by Saving our Species, Southern Cross University and WWF Australia, which will give a much-needed boost to the frogs’ wild numbers.

Feeling inspired? Here’s how you can help us keep the good news stories coming:

  • Get involved: NSW national parks benefit enormously from the help of volunteers. Volunteer work is a great way to connect with, and conserve our environment for generations to come – and there are plenty of ways to lend a hand.
  • Respect our local wildlife: We know how irresistible our native wildlife can be, but it’s super important to give them space. Remember, you’re in their home. To avoid disturbing them in their natural habitat, always keep your distance, minimise noise, never feed them, and don’t use flash photography at night.
  • Practise responsible pet ownership: Keep cats indoors and dogs on a leash. Remember, pets aren’t allowed in national parks, and it’s best to check signage on beaches to see what the rules are around bringing your dog. The rules aren’t there to ruin you or your pooch’s fun – they’re just helping to keep our native wildlife safe and sound.
  • Leave no trace: Keep your boots clean to stop the spread of weeds and diseases, stick to the marked tracks, leave rocks as you find them (they might be home to native residents), take your rubbish with you, and follow leave no trace principles.
  • Vehicle use: When driving or car touring through NSW national parks or reserves, please remember some simple vehicle use tips to reduce environmental damage and disturbances to wildlife.
  • Report sick or injured wildlife: If you find a sick or injured animal while in our parks, it’s important to contact the right people who can help injured wildlife.

 

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service plays an essential role in the conservation of our state’s biodiversity. We’ve set an ambitious target of zero extinctions in national parks, and by 2030 we’re aiming to improve or stabilise the trajectory of all threatened plants and animals that call our NSW parks home. Find out more about how we’re meeting these commitments.