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 5, 2015

Record Number of Bandicoots at Woodlands Historic Park

Eastern Barred Bandicoot
Eastern Barred Bandicoot

During March this year we ran our first monitoring session since last November, and we’re excited to bring you the latest results!  This latest monitoring found 86 individual Eastern Barred Bandicoots, which is up from 57 individuals caught last November.  That is a huge jump in population growth with animals found right throughout the entire site. 

Equally pleasing was the health of the animals. Conservation Volunteers Australia’s Project Officer, Travis Scicchitano reports: “Melbourne Zoo’s veterinary staff were based onsite conducting extra health checks and all animals were given a clean bill of health - we were told that they were in excellent condition.  This means the Woodlands site is proving to be the perfect environment for our little fury friends.

There were concerns that due to a very hot summer with lower rainfall the bandicoots may have not bred. Low rainfall results in the ground being too hard to dig and food sources may have been low, however this doesn’t seem to have been the case at the Woodlands site.  There were still plenty of surface insects to eat and our bandicoots must have found them all!  According to Travis, “Out of the 86 individuals found, 30 females were caught.  Amazingly, 28 of those females were carrying pouch young totalling 54 - there are going to be so many new babies running around in the grassland shortly. Overall, the indication is the needs of the bandicoots are being completely fulfilled and they are able to get along naturally just the way we had planned for them.  A great example of nature recovering on its own at its best, with some help from us keeping them safe from introduced predators and looking after their grasslands of course!” 

With all of this success, we are still having interference with our traps from possums. Although possums are native animals, we don’t want to trap them as part of this program – our interest is in the much rarer bandicoots that need our help! Travis says, “There was an 86% closure rate of traps when checked.  This was largely a result of possums getting there first and shaking the cages closed, as well as lots of possums being caught. To combat this, we have started our trials with the new traps and have had some positive results.  We’ve noticed the possums getting there first and losing interest with the new door size, which has allowed our bandicoots to be caught instead.  Trials are still running for the best design but we are on our way to improving our research with more effective trapping.”  You can see our latest monitoring video demonstrating this.

These really are fantastic results that mean bandicoot numbers are moving rapidly forward and bringing one of our most endangered species back from the brink of extinction.

Thank you again for your support and generous donations. If you’re able to donate again or simply spread the word about this amazing species, you will be helping us to ensure the Eastern Barred Bandicoot will have a Wild Future.

Releasing the bandicoot after the health check
Releasing the bandicoot after the health check
Health check complete!
Health check complete!

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Apr 21, 2015

Creating Cockatoo Habitat for the Future

Carnaby
Carnaby's Black Cockatoo

Over the last three months, teams from Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA) have been donating their time and efforts, with your support, at Kaarakin Black Cockatoo Conservation Centre.  Kaarakin was established in 2007 and is situated on 40 acres of bush land and infrastructure in Martin, in the Perth Foothills.   The centre is dedicated to the preservation of the black cockatoo and also to other native endangered Australian fauna. Projects at Kaarakin focus on the rescue, rehabilitation and if possible, the release of the threatened Forest Red-tail, and the endangered Carnaby's Black Cockatoos. The site is quite unique, being only 40 minutes from the centre of Perth, surrounded by Banyowla Conservation Park with excellent views over the coastal plain.

The three key elements of this project are the rescue and rehabilitation of injured cockatoos across the Swan Coastal Plain; the captive “Breed for Release” program; and habitat restoration projects on old farmland situated adjacent to the Kaarakin property. The project offers the chance for community participation across the site and helps create awareness of the plight of not only the black cockatoos but wider environmental issues across the planet.

It’s been a busy three months, and we have been delighted to have more than 80 people volunteering at Kaarakin.  The teams have removed 1,830m2 of invasive weeds, planted 797 native seedlings and have repaired 20m of fence line.  The teams have also been getting the new seedlings through the summer heat with regular watering sessions and have continued to undertake green stock maintenance on the existing native vegetation. All of these projects contribute to the long term plans to help increase cockatoo habitat for the future.

Conservation Volunteers Australia Team Leader Nora Larry said, “It’s great for the volunteers to see the difference they are making over time at Kaarakin.  They are often rewarded for their efforts by visiting the friendly cockatoo aviary”.

CVA would like to thank our supporters and volunteers.  Without your support, CVA wouldn’t be able to make a difference to this important cause.  If you are able to donate again we would really appreciate it – every donation will help us to continue achieving these great conservation results and give these beautiful birds a better chance at coming back from the brink of extinction.

Volunteers Removing Weeds
Volunteers Removing Weeds
Volunteers Planting Native Seedlings
Volunteers Planting Native Seedlings

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Apr 14, 2015

Taking Care of The Elders - Final Chapter

Tasmanian Devil*
Tasmanian Devil*

This report marks the final chapter of our successful partnership with Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary and the completed ‘Retirement Village’ that now stretches approximately 600m across the hill of the sanctuary, apart from some finishing touches and a glass of champagne to toast the ‘old devils’ as they arrive at their new home.  We will be sure to send you a further update and some pictures as the devils settle in.

With little advancement being made towards successfully discovering a treatment or cure for the spread of the deadly facial tumour disease, which is still currently decimating the Tasmanian devil population, efforts to save and preserve these iconic creatures have not abated. While the science is still at work, various forms of on-ground activity continue at a grass roots level; activity that sees united sections of the Tasmanian community combine forces to ensure the devil will have a future in this state.

Healthy populations of devils are being quarantined around Tasmania in a variety of locations including a closely monitored group of new arrivals to Maria Island, situated off the East Coast of Tasmania. These devils are being observed to assess their suitability in not only adapting to their new environment, but also to gauge what impact they have upon the existing wildlife species and birdlife on the Island. In other regions extensive devil proof fencing is being erected across country to confine the movement of both healthy and affected devil populations – where neither the two shall mix.

Meanwhile the breeding programs continue and our ageing devils, those that have their best years behind them, are gearing up for residency at their new home. According to Greg Irons from the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary, the first arrivals will begin once the final tasks are undertaken and completed in our joint “Taking Care of The Elders’ project.

With the months of summer passing, the planting season is now upon us and CVA’s teams of volunteers have commenced re-vegetating the devil enclosure to provide native habitat and shelter through the planting of selected native trees, shrubs and grasses. In addition to the plantings we have been installing an irrigation system. This will allow for healthy plant establishment and naturally, water is an essential commodity for the resident devils.

Finishing touches are all important and none more so than issuing volunteers with cans of paint and brushes – a task that will not only provide a facelift for the secondhand materials used in the structure, but an opportunity to blend into the hillside above Bonorong. This will be followed by an invitation to students from the local high school to ‘get creative’ and demonstrate their artistic skills by adorning the visible walls of the enclosure with depictions of wildlife and the environment as they see it.  This will provide a great opportunity for students to learn more about our natural and cultural environment while having fun painting up storm.

Our ‘Taking Care of The Elders’ project has captured the imagination of all involved since we began eighteen months ago – from the donors of project resources to our many volunteer teams. The project has offered an opportunity for people to become involved in not just a topical issue, but one which is dear to us all, and perhaps a little different. We wish to thank you for your generosity and ongoing support in this attempt to provide a sustainable future for this iconic creature that is the Tasmanian devil.

CVA is continuing to develop new opportunities with partners to ensure the ongoing survival of Tasmanian Devils.  One of the key devil conservation strategies is the establishment of captive breeding programs that are taking place in a small number of locations across Australia and may be the last vestige of hope for these amazing animals if the wild population does not survive.  Many of these programs have to deal with the ever increasing demand for enclosure space, increasing animal husbandry efforts, enclosure maintenance and financial constraints in order to continue expanding the breeding program for successful Tasmanian Devil survival.  Importantly these captive populations will form the basis of future reintroductions to replace or supplement wild populations.

With an increasing and urgent need for Tasmanian Devil captive breeding programs and facilities, the Australian Reptile Park in Gosford created Devil Ark in 2011, an intensive Tasmanian Devil breeding program based at a property in the Barrington Tops mountains of NSW.  At an altitude of 1,350 metres, the Barrington Tops provides the perfect breeding environment for devils. The Tasmanian-like vegetation and cool, wet and snowy conditions means the devils are at home in this environment.  Tasmanian Devils at Devil Ark are kept in a natural environment to maintain their wild behaviour and the keepers intervene as little as possible.  These natural behaviours and lack of human conditioning is important if they are to be released into the wild in the future.  The Devil Ark program was launched in January 2011 with 44 Tasmanian devils.  Following two very successful breeding seasons, the Devil Ark population now stands at 90 devils, with more plans for expansion.

Ian Walker, Director Conservation with Conservation Volunteers Australia says “to house the increasing population of devils at Devil Ark, more enclosures need to be built and existing enclosures require ongoing maintenance and habitat enhancement.

With increasing awareness for the Devil Ark program and public motivation to actively assist we can make a huge difference.  Extending the enclosures, ensuring devils can breed and are free of the tumour will be critical for future reintroduction into the wild. CVA is committed to securing the Tasmanian Devil in the wild and we encourage you to get behind the next devil conservation project.” 

Thank you for your continued support of the Tasmanian Devil - your help is needed now more than ever as we move to the next phase of our goal to give the Tasmanian Devil a Wild Future.

 

*Photo courtesy Greg Irons
The planting begins!
The planting begins!
Digging it!
Digging it!
United in cause from opposite ends of the globe
United in cause from opposite ends of the globe

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