The world’s rarest marsupial — the Gilbert’s potoroo has been returned to Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve after its population was decimated by a bushfire in 2015. Staff at the Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Attractions translocated six potoroos back to the area from insurance populations on Bald Island and Waychinicup. DBCA principal research scientist Lesley Gibson said that the insurance populations had been essential in the translocation of the potoroos back to the nature reserve. The species was thought to be extinct since the early 1900s until a population was rediscovered at Two Peoples bay Nature Reserve in 1994. The potoroo was found in dense, long unburnt heathland in the nature reserve on the slopes of Mount Gardner, where they fed almost exclusively on underground-fruiting fungi. The 2015 bushfire in the area burnt through 90 per cent of the potoroo’s suitable habitat resulting in the loss of the original population. “This endearing marsupial still faces threats from foxes and feral cats and unmanaged fire regimes and it is vital that we continue to manage our conservation areas at the landscape scale to ensure viable habitat and maintain these areas with low levels of feral predators.” Ms Gibson said The DBCA will use radio tracking to monitor the animals to see where they feed and seek refuge from predators. This information will help understand the success of this translocation and inform future reintroductions of Gilbert’s potoroo into the area. The project to reintroduce the potoroo was supported through funding by the Australian Government through South Coast Natural Resource Management Inc and the Gilbert’s Potoroo Action Group Inc. “The State Government is committed to working with partners and the community to conserve threatened species in Western Australia, including an expanded conservation reserve system through the Plan for Our Parks initiative which will deliver 5 million hectares of new conservation estate in Western Australia,” Ms Gibson said.