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Oct 28, 2015

Healthy Bandicoots Continue to Thrive!

One of our Eastern Barred Bandicoot 'cleanskins'.
One of our Eastern Barred Bandicoot 'cleanskins'.

Welcome Friends in Conservation,

 

This report starts on a different note – click here to view some interesting footage taken while I was on my morning patrol of the fence enclosing our precious bandicoots.  It’s that time of the year again when male Eastern Grey Kangaroos will fight for breeding rights within their mob – and as you can see in the video, it’s quite a battle.  I was going about my business trying to do a morning patrol around the fence perimeter, but these two boys were not interested in my schedule, and I had to wait until the battle was over to continue my patrol.  We always talk about kangaroos in our safety assessment before we can start any work, ...you can now understand why!  These two were around six foot tall and can certainly pack a punch and a mighty kick!  So I was more than happy to wait for them to go about their business!

Now back to our bandicoots.  We have just completed our spring monitoring for this year, and with the daylight hours increasing since the September equinox, the bandicoots have lost precious darkness (approx. 2-3 hrs) in which to forage, making it harder for them to be trapped. This time last year we recorded 57 individuals. This year we were hoping to record around 80 individuals – so I am very happy to share the positive news of recording 110 individuals on site this Spring. It has been a dry winter with low rainfall, so there was some concern we wouldn’t achieve these results, as the grasslands have reduced more than expected.  But the Eastern Bared Bandicoot is very adaptive - as proven by these amazing numbers, passing of all their health checks and consistent overall great body condition.

These ‘hot of the press’ results also revealed a very healthy female population with more females being caught than in our past two sessions combined.  Twelve of the female Eastern Barred Bandicoot’s caught revealed a total of 23 pouch young, and another 24 showed signs of recent pouch evacuation, meaning many new young are independently exploring life in Woodlands.  We are proud to report that 50 ‘cleanskins’ were caught, all of which have been bred and born on site at Woodlands.  The recent purchase of new microchip supplies has already been depleted – being put to good use in chipping our cleanskins.  The new scanner is already being used, efficiently extracting new data and enabling us to extract vital research information promptly.  The new microchips and scanner have only been made possible through the generous donations that we have received from our committed and loyal donors (click here to see the release of a newly chipped Eastern Bared Bandicoot).

Conservation Volunteers Australia’s innovative Eastern Bared Bandicoot program will continue through the busy summer months ahead.  With the dryer than normal winter and spring in Victoria, and a hot summer ahead – maintaining the grasslands will become essential in ensuring the bandicoots can continue to thrive in a ‘perfect’ habitat.  This maintenance of the grasslands will undoubtedly impact on the results of our next monitoring session in April 2016.

Please enjoy these results, but we still have a way to go before reaching ‘full capacity’ in our Eastern Barred Bandicoot number at Woodlands.  We are certainly tracking and continuing to grow in the right direction, all due to your commitment to bringing the Eastern Bared Bandicoot back from extinction. 

Once again – thank you to everyone who helps to make this program successful, including our valuable volunteers, members of the Eastern Bared Bandicoot Recovery Team, everyone involved from Conservation Volunteers Australia and Parks Victoria, but most especially our generous donors who make the program sustainable.

Travis Scicchitano, Woodlands Project Officer. 

Part of our new microchip supply.  Thanks!
Part of our new microchip supply. Thanks!

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Oct 1, 2015

Having a Devil of a Time!

A 'Retired Elder' waiting patiently for new home!
A 'Retired Elder' waiting patiently for new home!

Dear Friends in Conservation,

Our volunteers in Hobart have had a devil of a time over the last year, building the ‘retirement village’ for the aging devil populations that were previously engaged in breeding programs. By being part of the breeding programs these devils have contributed to saving their species, so we are rewarding them for all of their hard work.

The Tasmanian Devil is the world's largest surviving carnivorous marsupial, and these beautiful (and fierce!) animals still need plenty of help. It is believed that devils became extinct on mainland Australia some 400 years ago (before European settlement), due to increasing aridity as well as the spread of dingoes. Evidence suggests that devil populations in Tasmania were at historic highs around 20 years ago, before the devastating impact of the fatal Devil Facial Tumour Disease, first identified in 1996. In 2008, the Tasmanian devil status was upgraded to endangered.

The ‘Taking Care of the Elders’ Program, which was the construction of a large enclosure at Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary, is in the final stages now. In our last report, we told you about the irrigation systems – our wonderful volunteers have been busy since then digging trenches and laying piping. These activities are now complete and it should only be a matter of weeks before we see the devils in their new home.   

“We are so proud and grateful to all the volunteers who have helped with this important project over the last year and we are really looking forward to the official opening of the enclosure in a few weeks, all of which has only been possible through the kind Global Giving donors, so thank you to everyone for your important role in this project”, said Amy Bailey, Hobart Regional Manager of Conservation Volunteers Australia.

We are continuing to undertake activities with Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary with the kind ongoing support of our donors, to improve the habitat for the current resident devil population.  The backing from all our wonderful friends through Global Giving has made this possible, and the team in Hobart and the devils at Bonorong send our warmest appreciation to all our past and ongoing supporters.  

Preparing channels for the irrigation system
Preparing channels for the irrigation system
Amy sharing the exciting plans for Bonorong
Amy sharing the exciting plans for Bonorong

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Oct 1, 2015

Loss of Cockatoo Habitat = Loss of Cockatoos

New habitat being planted by a dedicated volunteer
New habitat being planted by a dedicated volunteer

Welcome Friends of Cockatoo Conservation,

Over the last three months, teams from Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA) have been donating their time and efforts, with your support, at various key locations in Perth that contribute to Carnaby’s Cockatoo conservationCarnaby’s Cockatoo is an iconic species, easily recognisable with its white tail and a ‘wee-low’ call as they migrate back and forth from the Swan Coastal Plain to the Western Australian wheatbelt – formerly their bushland home, meaning this species is fast running out of room. The Red-tailed Black Cockatoo is a subspecies of the red tailed black cockatoo found right across Australia. They too are running out of nesting room, with less old trees and hollows to call home.

Our teams of volunteers have been lending their efforts at a number of sites including Yanchep National Park, Bibra Lake, Canning River Regional Park, Lake Claremont and Yellagonga Regional Park. The three key elements of the work completed at these sites include revegetation and planting of Carnaby’s cockatoo food sources, rehabilitation of natural bushland areas and site maintenance and care. The activities offer the chance for community participation across the sites and help create awareness of the plight of not only the black cockatoos but wider environmental issues across those areas.

It’s been a busy three months, and we have been delighted to have more than 513 people volunteering at these project sites, made possible through your kind donations.  Collectively, over 50 teams of volunteers have removed 19,175m² of invasive weeds, planted 16,120 native seedlings and maintained 500m of trail.  As well as those amazing accomplishments, areas have been maintained in between planting and weeding times with the collection of 850kg of rubbish. Clearing rubbish and maintaining walking trails helps people to use natural areas and appreciate the beauty of the environment, including these beautiful cockatoos. Planting trees and clearing weeds is a step towards creating future habitats for the cockatoos and many other species that call this area home.

Friends of Lake Claremont Coordinator Heidi stated, “We are very grateful for all the extra help. It’s a great effort by all the volunteers and we are very appreciative of all their hard work.”

CVA would like to thank our Global Giving supporters.  Without your support, our dedicated volunteers 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.

The cockatoo's stunning backyard!
The cockatoo's stunning backyard!
Removing invasive weeds from Cockatoo habitat
Removing invasive weeds from Cockatoo habitat
Rubbish removal - an act of love!
Rubbish removal - an act of love!
Homes for the future
Homes for the future
Simply stunning - Carnabys Black Cockatoo
Simply stunning - Carnabys Black Cockatoo

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