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

Links:

Sep 22, 2015

Food Shortage - Grass Trials May Prove Life Saving

State Landcare Delegates viewing grass trials
State Landcare Delegates viewing grass trials

Dear Friends in Conservation,

This is the time of year that the Southern Hairy-nosed wombats look forward to – the emergence of their favourite food, Speargrass (Austrostipa). Some native grasses are making headway at Brookfield Conservation Park, but it is clear that there will not be enough to keep these special marsupials thriving through the summer.

It is therefore great news that the experimental exclosures have been erected and the trial is in full swing. The decline of grasslands in the Murraylands is of great concern and causing numerous issues such as increasing competition with wildlife.

The project will bring innovative and tested methods of grazing and grassy understorey management to marginal areas within the region. The project trials a range of different methods including grazing, fire, disturbance and seeding regimes, or a combination of these management techniques.  The aim of this research is to develop an effective integrated management plan that takes into account the needs of all stakeholders, as well as the long-term conservation of our iconic native species.

We were pleased to showcase this project to a tour group from the State Landcare Conference. The delegates were extremely interested in the innovative approach, along with the fact the community were helping to deliver the program through volunteering. Conference Delegate Amy Linke stated, “This is a great example of partnerships and collaboration striving for a common goal – the survival of the Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat. How fortunate that this special animal has captured the attention of generous folk from Global Giving.”

Our volunteers will be monitoring the exclosures and gathering data. They will also be keeping an eye on the condition of the wombats in the Park, as word is out that Mange could be on the rise – it is a skin disease of mammals caused by parasitic mites - something we all need to keep on top of to ensure a healthy wombat population (see news report link for more information).

Despite all of these issues, we have been witnessing some very robust wombats with beautiful shiny coats. They have been enjoying the warmer afternoons on top of their burrows before they head off for their nightly forage.

The support of generous donors through Global Giving is instrumental in discovering innovative ways to manage the Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat and its habitat, particularly at the moment with a dry summer looking very likely. We look forward to your continued support to ensure our vital work can continue successfully.

Healthy Wombat sunning itself at Brookfield
Healthy Wombat sunning itself at Brookfield
Healthy Wombat at Brookfield Conservation Park
Healthy Wombat at Brookfield Conservation Park

Links:

Jul 31, 2015

Busy Bandicoots Breaking Records and Hearts

CVA Volunteer releasing Eastern Barred Bandicoot
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'
Project Leader Travis releasing a beloved 'coot'
Adorable Eastern Barred Bandicoot after release
Adorable Eastern Barred Bandicoot after release
Showing their vulnerability - a Bandicoot home
Showing their vulnerability - a Bandicoot home
"Should I go, or, should I stay...hmmm."
"Should I go, or, should I stay...hmmm."

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