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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
Close-up of a hairy marron showing the small hairs on its head and torso.
​Hairy marron have a renewed chance for survival − thanks to the work of researchers and local volunteer groups.
Wednesday 31 May 2017

Building a future for hairy marron

Researchers from the Department of Fisheries, University of WA, and Murdoch and Edith Cowan Universities, along with the Cape to Cape Catchments Group and teams of dedicated local volunteers, are working together on a range of projects to save Western Australia’s unique hairy marron.

Population surveys estimate there are less than 1,000 hairy marron left in the wild, and they are restricted to only a small section of the Margaret River. A further 400 largely captive-bred animals are retained in captivity as a breeding population at our Pemberton Freshwater Research Centre.

Studies suggest that hairy marron are at risk because of the illegal introduction of smooth marron into the Margaret River, where they out-compete hairy marron and interbreed creating hybrid individuals.

As a result, to assist the long-term sustainability of hairy marron as a species, genetic testing and relocation processes have been developed to help volunteers remove smooth marron and hybrid individuals from the area of Margaret River where hairy marron still occur naturally.

Volunteers are collecting genetic samples that are analysed by the researchers to help monitor success of the recovery effort. Genetic testing developed by the research team means the species identity of a marron can now be confirmed in less than two hours.

Since the removal started, ongoing surveys show a slight overall increase in the hairy marron population, along with an increase in the proportion of hairy marron in the area from five per cent to 25 per cent.

Last modified: 31/05/2017 2:17 PM

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