Western Sydney is getting its “very own Noah’s Ark”

A new national park in western Sydney will be home to threatened and endangered animals in a bid to protect them from feral species.

Grab your walking shoes and slap on some sunscreen, because western Sydney will be your next go-to destination for nature.

On September 26, the NSW government announced plans for a feral free national park in a press conference.

western Sydney national park
Photo: thepulse.org.au

“Today, we are announcing your very own Noah’s Ark,” said NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean.

“This will be the first national park declared in western Sydney in over one decade, and we’re turning it into a special conservation area, which will be home to some of our most threatened and endangered native animals.”

After declaring the park will be home to native species that haven’t been seen in the state “in some cases, for over a century”, the minister promised the nature reserve will be accessible to all visitors via “boardwalks and walking trails”.

Apart from giving Sydneysiders a new space to stretch their legs and enjoy nature, the park will also offer “visitor facilities, interpretive signage and an education centre which will run nocturnal spotlighting tours”.

In a statement to the NSW government’s website, Premier Gladys Berejiklian explained the national park will cover a “500-hectare site at Shanes Park between Penrith and Windsor”.

This marks it as one of the largest national parks in the state in over ten years.

“The pandemic has shown us how important our open public spaces are, they are critical to our mental and physical well-being,” Berejiklian said.

“This project will not only allow the people of western Sydney a new place to enjoy the outdoors but they will also get to access a conservation area and one of the nation’s best wildlife experiences.”

30 species are set to be reintroduced to the area. However, the following twelve will be given priority: emu, koala, brown antechinus, eastern bettong, New Holland mouse, brush-tailed phascogale, common dunnart, bush rat, eastern quoll, southern long-nosed bandicoot, bush stone-curlew and the green and golden bell frog.

eastern quoll western Sydney national park
Photo: examiner.com.au

According to the western Sydney health news publication, The Pulse, “up to 20 additional locally extinct and declining reptile and frog species will also be reintroduced” to the park.

The national park is expected to officially open “by early 2023”. Its name will be announced early next year “following consultation[s] with Aboriginal groups” on an Indigenous name.

“[S]pecialist perimeter fencing” will be installed over the next three months.