Conservation Volunteers Australia

Conservation Volunteers has partnered with individuals, businesses and governments in the conservation of our unique environment since 1982. In that time we have welcomed hundreds of thousands of volunteers from around Australia and across the world and supported their participation in a diversity of important projects to protect and enhance our environment. Our Vision We believe in a healthy and sustainable environment, and for everyone to be involved in managing and protecting that environment. Our Mission To attract and manage volunteers to participate in projects that protect or enhance our environment and heritage. Our Objectives 1. A healthy, diverse and sustainably managed envir...
May 13, 2014

Eastern Barred Bandicoot Breeding Success

Eastern Barred Bandicoots are thriving!
Eastern Barred Bandicoots are thriving!

It’s been an exciting and busy few months with our first monitoring event for 2014 held in April.  Conservation Volunteers Australia’s Project Officer, Travis Scicchitano, reports:  “We spent three days trapping, with 161 traps set across the 300 hectare site at Woodlands. This meant 16 kilometres had to be walked each day to complete the monitoring of the traps. Over 300 tasty bait balls were patiently and perfectly rolled by our trusty volunteers to attract the bandicoots. This was a great effort as it takes one person a very long time!  So with traps set it was onto giving our little furry friends a health check.”

The great news is that, over the three days, a total of 18 bandicoots were monitored. Travis says, “Even greater news is that we finally have become grandparents.  We discovered two brand new bandicoots that were born and bred on site with pouch young. This is a fantastic step in the success for the breeding on site.  We caught a balanced mixture of male and females, as well as two individuals from previous releases that we had never caught.  This shows great survival signs long term at Woodlands.  The condition of the bandicoots was also a pleasing aspect. After an incredibly hot, dry and long summer the animals have all gained significant weight, on average around 100 grams per adult. We also found the first baby bandicoot which was trapped last December weighing only 170 grams– it now weighs a whopping 510 grams! This is remarkable and a great sign of perfect habitat at Woodlands.”

Our significant progress at Woodlands is all thanks to our donors, supporters and volunteers, however we still have a long way to go. Our next step with this program is to put in remote monitoring cameras, bought with your support, which we can use to record the bandicoots’ activity and numbers.  This will also enable us to stream our furry friends on our website for everyone to see. 

Over the past month, we’ve also been able to attract some great media support to spread the bandicoots’ story! The video attached comes from Australia’s ‘Today’ breakfast program, broadcast nationally and showing Travis in action carrying out a bandicoot health check. We hope you enjoy watching it and seeing what you’ve helped to achieve! Thank you all again for your support - our bandicoots love their new home, which is going a long way to increasing their numbers and the survival of the species. We really appreciate your support for this project, and hope that you are enjoying our reports and pictures so far.

If you’re able to donate again we would really appreciate it – every donation will help us to continue achieving these great conservation results. Our most pressing need at the moment are donations to help us restore the grassland habitat that the bandicoots so urgently need to survive – we’re moving into the time of year that is best to get new grasses established, and we have plenty of volunteers ready and willing to help if we can buy enough grasses to get started. We also need to continue maintaining the fence to keep predators away from our growing population of bandicoots. Thank you again.

Volunteers planting grasses
Volunteers planting grasses
Volunteers checking the traps
Volunteers checking the traps
Bandicoot released after health check
Bandicoot released after health check

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Apr 29, 2014

Devils Retirement Home Nears Completion

Volunteers securing steel droppers on the fence
Volunteers securing steel droppers on the fence

The ‘Taking Care of the Elders’ Program is in the final construction stages and we are now approaching completion of the enclosure. This large ‘retirement village’ is now taking shape and will be ready for its Tasmanian Devil residents soon!

The fencing posts and rail have now been installed and secured to ensure stability. Recycled corrugated iron sheets are being used to form the fences. This roofing iron has been assembled and cut to size; however we will need more iron to fully complete the enclosure. The 24 devil dens are also complete and ready to accommodate the ageing carnivorous marsupials.

Thanks to recent donations, Conservation Volunteers has been able to purchase the essential, but most expensive, materials we needed for the project, these being wire netting and steel mesh. They have now been laid on almost all of the perimeter fence and internal walls of the enclosure; this will ensure no digging devil escapees (nobody can get out - nobody can get in! The Devils are safe from predators).  

"Together, the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary and Conservation Volunteers Australia have enjoyed a very cohesive working relationship over past years, which has culminated in a number of successful on-ground projects being undertaken and completed. Our latest project, 'Taking Care of The Elders' has provided inspiration and the opportunity for the community to become involved in the wellbeing and future of the Tasmanian Devil”, says Conservation Volunteers’ Regional Coordinator, Amy Bailey.

One of the major reasons for the project’s ongoing success is that the focus of the project has captured the imagination and people, no matter what their skill level, can make a practical contribution towards a really important wildlife issue - with none bearing dearer than the Tasmanian Devil. Volunteers have really embraced the idea of constructing a large ‘Retirement Village’ to humanely house older members of the Tasmanian Devil insurance population - those that are no longer required for breeding purposes, but still need a safe place to live out their lives.  

According to Amy, “Volunteering in Wildlife Sanctuaries does provide a unique experience. When projects such as this are created, with real outcomes, with real purpose, there are many people from all walks of life, who wish to share the commitment and responsibility for the preservation of our wildlife into the future and beyond." 

Progress is good and the volunteers have made massive contributions of time and effort to get to this stage, but financial assistance is still urgently required to complete the enclosure. We still need to buy materials include roofing iron for the perimeter fence, several thousand roofing screws, and truck loads of mulch to provide a comfortable and low maintenance ground cover for the ‘retirement village’.  Our volunteers are ready and committed to help with installation as soon as we can buy what we need.

Thank you for donating so far to help with this really unusual and much-needed project – we hope that you enjoy our update and the pictures of the volunteers using the materials that you have helped supply. Soon we’ll be sharing our next update, and we hope to be able to show you the Devils being transferred into their Retirement Village if we can make enough progress with funds to complete the project! Thank you again for your contribution to conservation.

Cutting the recycled iron to size
Cutting the recycled iron to size
It
It's tight security to protect the Devils!
The roofing iron is secured in place
The roofing iron is secured in place
Special thanks to the volunteers!
Special thanks to the volunteers!
Apr 7, 2014

Wombats, Warrens and Weeds

Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat
Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat

First of all, a very big thank you to everyone who has supported our Southern Hairy-nosed Wombats appeal so far. Your donations are already making a difference in our fight to save this iconic species.

The Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat (Lasiorhinus latifrons) is one of three species of wombats – the smallest of the three. They live in complex burrow systems, using them to beat the harsh heat of the day.

According to Conservation Volunteers Australia’s State Manager in South Australia, Tricia Curtis, “What an amazing month of extremes the Southern Hairy-nosed Wombats have had at Brookfield Conservation Park. Temperatures over 50 degrees Celsius, bushfires nearby followed closely by flooding! Consequently, we, and the wombats, have been kept on our toes with what Mother Nature has been dealing us.”

This time of year the wombats have been lying low, keeping out of the heat to conserve as much energy as possible. When they do come out from their warrens, they are on the lookout for their favourite foods but unfortunately it is still limited. This is why we have had volunteer teams on the ground managing the competing weeds in areas where wombat burrows are. This provides the best chance for native grasses to recolonise.

From the funds recently donated, volunteers have been able to assist researchers with a vegetation survey and three wombat warren surveys – all of these help us to determine wildlife abundance and the effects of climate change on the region. Supporting these projects through Global Giving means the data collected is managed and processed quickly, providing immediate information that can be used to guide future surveys. This ensures both volunteer and researcher time is used to the maximum benefit, which is extremely rewarding to know we are getting the best value for our wonderful supporters too.

Tricia is thrilled with the response of donors and the efforts of the volunteers who have been involved with this project so far, and is looking forward to the next steps: “We still urgently need your support as we’re hoping to raise enough funds to build our vegetation exclosures through autumn and winter. This will assist researchers with gathering data on grazing pressure from both native and non-native wildlife and will guide us on management of these species to ensure optimum food resources for native wildlife, including the Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat.”

Thank you again for donating to the Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat appeal. Your contribution is directly supporting the management and survival of this unique and much loved animal.

 

*Cover image courtesy of Rod Brunker
Volunteers Removing Weeds at Brookfield
Volunteers Removing Weeds at Brookfield
Rain Soaked Wombat at Brookfield
Rain Soaked Wombat at Brookfield
Survey of Wombat Warrens at Brookfield
Survey of Wombat Warrens at Brookfield

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