Return To EdenDocumentary | 2000 | ABC, Discovery
In the North West of Australia, a slender peninsular juts into the Indian Ocean at Shark Bay. Once a quiet wilderness, the Peron Peninsula has recently become the centre of a visionary campaign. “Project Eden” is attempting to bring back animals from the brink of extinction and return them to their former home.
Within the last 200 years, Peron, like much of Australia, has undergone a transformation with the arrival of European settlers. Land clearance, farming, and the introduction of a host of feral animals – foxes, cats, goats and rabbits – all resulted in catastrophic change. Some native species were lost forever. Others, like the marsupial bilby hung on in isolated pockets.
On the Peron Peninsular, help is at hand. The bilby is being assisted by government and volunteers to return to its former territory. An electric fence now seals the peninsular off from the rest of the continent. Inside, Project Eden utilises the latest in biological and technological eradication techniques to remove the ferals from within.
Meanwhile in ‘safe houses’, young natives are being reared. June Butcher, retired nurse, runs a captive bilby colony on the out-skirts of Perth. With the help of cameras that see in the dark of the bilby burrow, she witnesses, for the first time ever, the remarkable life cycle of this nocturnal marsupial destined for release into the wild.
However,the battle of the ferals begin to outwit the Project Eden team. With the fox all but eliminated, the cat now dominates the peninsular. A prolific breeder, its numbers soar to un-precedented levels. This unforeseen problem challenges the team’s ingenuity to the limit.
As the day of the bilby release draws closer, will the peninsular provide the promised haven for the bilbies to safely Return to Eden?