Aug 6, 2013

Taking Care of the Elders project now underway

Getting the all-important fence in place
Getting the all-important fence in place

Works have started on our Taking Care of the Elders project, to build large, free-range enclosures for Tasmanian Devils that are retiring from the breeding program at Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary.  After successful years of breeding and contributing to the ongoing success of increasing insurance populations, these hardworking Devils are now ready for a well-earned rest!

Many of these Devils were originally from the wild, brought in to help increase population numbers of healthy Devils.  Unable to return to the wild due to risk of exposure to the disease, these large enclosures will ensure they are free to roam, stretch their legs and live in safety and comfort for the rest of their days.

Conservation Volunteers Australia has been busy with initial construction of the 660sq metre enclosure, which will include native habitat, isolation and segregation areas, common sniffing platforms, digging mounds and sleeping facilities.  The enclosure will house up to 25 Devils at a time.  Volunteers have recently braved the cool winter Tassie conditions to start construction, but more building materials are needed for upcoming works to be completed. 

Fencing is our main priority at the moment to establish the boundary of the enclosure and ensure the Devils are safe and sound.  Your valuable donation will assist in procuring vital materials needed to complete this project.  You can choose what you would like to support through set amounts for fencing materials, plants and tools – or pledge your own amount and know that you are contributing to the survival of this wonderful, iconic species.

A huge thank you to those that have supported our Tasmanian Devil project so far – your contribution will ensure that these important conservation efforts continue and that the Tasmanian Devil will have a Wild Future!

Volunteers hard at work in chilly Tasmania
Volunteers hard at work in chilly Tasmania
The enclosure will enable older Devils to relax
The enclosure will enable older Devils to relax

Links:

May 16, 2013

Border Control for Bandicoots

Bright eyed Bandicoot ready for release!
Bright eyed Bandicoot ready for release!

Greetings from the Eastern Barred Bandicoot Revival Team!  Our Eastern Barred Bandicoot Recovery project is in full swing to help save this amazing species.  One of the most critically endangered marsupials in Victoria, habitat loss, agriculture, urban development, competition from introduced rabbits and the introduction of predator species such as foxes, cats and dogs have taken a huge toll on these bandicoot populations.

In order to save these amazing creatures from extinction, large areas of crucial habitat need to be protected and maintained to release captive animals.  Through the Wild Futures program, Conservation Volunteers is creating a bandicoot haven just 30 mins from Melbourne in Victoria where bandicoots will safely roam and breed, increasing and (hopefully!) doubling the small population size for the species.

Enclosing the Eastern Barred Bandicoot habitat – known affectionately as the ‘back paddock’, the all-important predator proof fence is tall to prevent cats and foxes climbing over.  With the finishing touches on the fence well underway, the Eastern Barred Bandicoot team are now turning their attention to ongoing border patrol and fence maintenance. Regular patrols and maintenance must be carried out on the fence to prevent breaches resulting from animals digging under, vandals from cutting the fence or branches falling onto it.  Patrolling the 7km perimeter takes a lot of time and effort.  In order to effectively monitor the fence, patrol teams use bicycles to get about in the most eco-efficient way.  More bicycles are needed for our patrol teams.

With the wetter weather approaching, important planting activities will also soon commence to provide the bandicoots with a good variety of food and shelter.

Your valuable donation will ensure that these important habitat enhancement and ongoing fence maintenance activities will continue, preparing this site for the upcoming release of bandicoots back into their natural habitat.  You can choose what you would like to support through set amounts for fencing materials, plants and tools or training – or pledge your own amount and know that you are actively assisting in bringing the bandicoot back from the brink of extinction! 

A huge thank you to those that have supported our Eastern Barred Bandicoot project so far – your contribution will ensure that these important conservation efforts continue and that the Eastern Barred Bandicoot will indeed have a Wild Future!

Volunteers maintaining the important fence
Volunteers maintaining the important fence
New habitat for Bandicoots!
New habitat for Bandicoots!

Links:

May 13, 2013

New Enclosures - Making Sense of Scents

Smell is an important form of communication
Smell is an important form of communication

Our Taking Care of the Elders enclosure project is underway.  Planning is currently being held to ensure that the enclosures are the best construction and design to cater to the needs of the ageing Tasmanian Devils, so that they can enjoy their ‘retirement’ from the breeding program and live out their days in comfort, contentment and safety.

DID YOU KNOW - The Tasmanian Devil has a very keen sense of smell.  The olfactory bulb – the part of brain that is used to detect and interpret smells is enormous in the Tassie Devil’s brain and gives a good indication of the importance of smell for survival.  In the wild, these animals use their sense of smell to communicate, find food, find mates and establish territory.   In fact, the Tassie Devil’s nose is so sensitive they can detect scents up to 1km (0.6 mi) away!

When in captivity, an important part of Tasmanian Devil husbandry is providing these animals with good mental stimulation, enabling them to hone their keen sense of smell and prevent boredom.  Thinking up novel ways of keeping Devils entertained keeps the wildlife keepers busy!  To challenge and support their keen sense of smell, ‘bloodcicles’ are sometimes put in the enclosure (blocks of frozen blood), enabling this carnivorous marsupial keep busy by sniffing it out, similar to finding carrion in the wild – gory but great for Devils!  Food and other native animal faeces are scattered through the enclosure to make the enclosure a dynamic enclosure full of scents that they would encounter in the wild.

Our new enclosures will have ‘smelling platforms’, where the Devils can climb up (another favourite activity) and sniff around.   This is all just part of the important process of ensuring that Tasmanian Devils in captivity are mentally, emotionally and physically healthy! 

With plans being finalised on creating these fantastic, dynamic enclosures, our attention now turns to procuring the building materials so that we can start the building process!  We need to raise funds to buy these materials and hope that you can help us.

You can choose what you would like to support through set amounts for fencing materials, plants and tools – or pledge your own amount and know that you are contributing to the survival of this wonderful, iconic species.

A huge thank you to those that have supported our Tasmanian Devil project so far – your contribution will ensure that these important conservation efforts continue and that the Tasmanian Devil will have a Wild Future!

Hope for the future for this young devil
Hope for the future for this young devil
Devils like to get up high for a look and a sniff
Devils like to get up high for a look and a sniff

Links:

 
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