A new national park has been created in Western Australia to protect rare and critically-endangered wildlife species.
The Blue Mountains, Kakadu, the Daintree, and Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa national parks are among the first stops for travelers who want to experience the country's unique and abundant wildlife. Now a newly designated national park is endeavoring to attract more nature lovers to Western Australia while protrecting some of the country's rarest species.
Dryandra Woodland National Park is located two hours south-east of Perth and includes nature reserves and animal sanctuaries to protect vulnerable wildlife and fauna. It's the first national park to be created in Western Australia's agricultural Wheatbelt region, which is where visitors typically flock to see the famous Wave Rock.
The woodland is already a popular destination with hikers and nature lovers with a range of trails to explore — including one that highlights the Aboriginal heritage of the area.
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Around 24 mammals, 98 birds and 41 reptile species call Dryandra home. It's an important conservation area for some of Australia's rarest wildlife, including the endangered numbat (Western Australia's national emblem), as well as chuditch, quenda, woylies, and bushtail wallabies. It's also home to a predator-proof animal sanctuary called Barna Mia, where visitors can responsibly engage with wildlife in their natural habitat, as well as campgrounds, an accommodation site, and driving and hiking trails.
The plan to create the national park has been in the pipeline for more than a decade, a spokesperson for the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) told Lonely Planet, and is part of Western Australia's Western Shield, a wildlife recovery program which has been operating for 25 years and has brought many species back from the brink of extinction.
As well as expanding the land for conservation, the DBCA said the creation of the park increases opportunity for new initiatives such as Aboriginal involvement and developing new cultural and tourism small business opportunities for the local community.
"The creation of this new national park will better protect the woodland's unique native species, while also offering wonderful outdoor recreational opportunities for visitors and the local community," said environment minister Reece Whitby.
"The new national park is within a day's travel from Perth and will continue to be a popular destination for wildlife enthusiasts, campers and bushwalkers for generations to come."