CVA Volunteer releasing Eastern Barred Bandicoot
Dear Friends in Conservation,
We are delighted to report positive news on the pesky fox front – the old rickety fence has done its job – and we have been fox free for the past twelve months. The fence might not look as nice as some of the newer models around, but it’s doing the job! The addition of the floppy top, combined with regular fence patrols, is working effectively – and we are moving ahead. The floppy top fence is designed so as an excluded animal attempts to climb the overhang, it bends down and the animal will let go and fall to the ground. The floppy top then springs back to the original position, ready for another assault (view diagram). So well done to all the volunteers, who assist in the regular fence checks and repairs..
Travis Scicchitano, Woodlands Project Officer said “Records continue to be broken at Woodlands Historic Park as Eastern Barred Bandicoot numbers continue to surge. Here’s a snapshot. In November 2014, we recorded 57 bandicoots, 86 were recorded in March 2015, and an amazing 114 bandicoots were recorded in July this year – that’s a 100% increase! Even more exciting is the 46 new bandicoots, that had never been caught before – so breeding is continuing at a healthy rate as they try to fill their protected area.” As we continue to share the marvellous success of our bandicoots, we have to applaud the ladies, with recent pouch inspections revealing an astounding 94% of them showing recent signs of having released pouch young. This is shown by elongated teats and lactating teats in the pouch, meaning young bandicoots have recently vacated the pouch, old enough to search and set up their own territories.
We have some encouraging news following up on our high possum trap interference. Twenty new traps were built with new door inserts to make it more difficult for possums to enter, but still allow bandicoots to freely enter for a tasty reward. The twenty new traps were placed in a section that had recorded the highest amount of possum interference. In just one row of nine traps, past results showed an average capture of up to seven possums and two closed traps due to possum ‘playfulness’. With the trap modifications in place, the capture rates in this same row, was reduced to just one possum per day. This is such a great start. Seeing the traps in action over four days has given us vital feedback to make a few more tweaks to improve the design even more. Adding to the success of the modified traps was the capture and ability to monitor bandicoots in this zone; previously an extremely rare occurrence, even though evidence of bandicoot activity was visible. We have a very special treat for our donors, a sneak peak at two Eastern Barred Bandicoots being released after completion of their vital health checks (view Video 1) (view Video 2).
So thank you to all our supporters and your life giving donations, that are improving our monitoring techniques and making it easier and less stressful on the bandicoots. But we still need your help as more modifications are required. The new trap designs have changed the way our trap covers work. The waterproof covers are vital for our trap functionality and most importantly, in keeping our bandicoots warm and protected. Your generous donations will help purchase new covers for all the new traps once ready. We are also at the stage that microchipping and monitoring the bandicoots is essential to ensure genetic security. We desperately need to purchase more microchips, as well as a new microchip scanner. The newer scanners process and upload the data directly to the database, facilitating real time information and eliminating all chances of human data entry errors. So please keep giving, as it only improves the quality of the project and the longevity of the bandicoot’s ongoing survival.
Once again great work everyone involved from Conservation Volunteers Australia, Parks Victoria, volunteers, members of the Eastern Barred Bandicoot Recovery Team and our sponsors, who have assisted with making this possible.
Project Leader Travis releasing a beloved 'coot'
Adorable Eastern Barred Bandicoot after release
Showing their vulnerability - a Bandicoot home
"Should I go, or, should I stay...hmmm."