CANBERRA, Sept. 18 (Xinhua) -- A spotting of four juvenile numbats in South Australia (SA) has sparked hopes for the recovery of the threatened native species.
The numbat is a small species of marsupial that was once widespread across Australia, but is now considered an endangered species only found in the wild in southern Western Australia (WA).
However, nearly one year after researchers from consultancy company Ecological Horizons released 16 numbats in a fenced enclosure in SA's Eyre Peninsula region - more than 200 kilometers north-west of Adelaide in South Australia - they have spotted four juveniles in the area, reigniting hopes the species could be brought back from the brink of extinction.
"We reintroduced some numbats last November-December, and this is the first time they've bred since then," Ecological Horizons director Katherine Moseby, an expert on reintroduction biology, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) on Monday.
"We've got four juveniles we've spotted on camera outside one of our female's burrows so it's really exciting."
The numbat is one of only two marsupial species that is diurnal, meaning they are active only during the day.
They weigh less than 1 kilogram fully grown on average, making the species susceptible to hunting by birds of prey and foxes.
"We want the populations to breed up inside the fences and then we'll try and get them outside the fences and into the much larger landscapes," Moseby said.