First of all, a very big thank you to everyone who has supported our Southern Hairy-nosed Wombats appeal so far. Your donations are already making a difference in our fight to save this iconic species.
The Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat (Lasiorhinus latifrons) is one of three species of wombats – the smallest of the three. They live in complex burrow systems, using them to beat the harsh heat of the day.
According to Conservation Volunteers Australia’s State Manager in South Australia, Tricia Curtis, “What an amazing month of extremes the Southern Hairy-nosed Wombats have had at Brookfield Conservation Park. Temperatures over 50 degrees Celsius, bushfires nearby followed closely by flooding! Consequently, we, and the wombats, have been kept on our toes with what Mother Nature has been dealing us.”
This time of year the wombats have been lying low, keeping out of the heat to conserve as much energy as possible. When they do come out from their warrens, they are on the lookout for their favourite foods but unfortunately it is still limited. This is why we have had volunteer teams on the ground managing the competing weeds in areas where wombat burrows are. This provides the best chance for native grasses to recolonise.
From the funds recently donated, volunteers have been able to assist researchers with a vegetation survey and three wombat warren surveys – all of these help us to determine wildlife abundance and the effects of climate change on the region. Supporting these projects through Global Giving means the data collected is managed and processed quickly, providing immediate information that can be used to guide future surveys. This ensures both volunteer and researcher time is used to the maximum benefit, which is extremely rewarding to know we are getting the best value for our wonderful supporters too.
Tricia is thrilled with the response of donors and the efforts of the volunteers who have been involved with this project so far, and is looking forward to the next steps: “We still urgently need your support as we’re hoping to raise enough funds to build our vegetation exclosures through autumn and winter. This will assist researchers with gathering data on grazing pressure from both native and non-native wildlife and will guide us on management of these species to ensure optimum food resources for native wildlife, including the Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat.”
Thank you again for donating to the Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat appeal. Your contribution is directly supporting the management and survival of this unique and much loved animal.
It’s been a busy summer at Woodlands Historic Park. The weather has thrown up a few challenges but our amazing volunteers have turned up in droves, even with very high temperatures of 40+ degrees! Thanks to these volunteers, our Eastern Barred Bandicoot program has continued to kick goals and keep the habitat safe for our bandicoots.
Conservation Volunteers Australia’s Project Officer, Travis Scicchitano, reports: “Countless fence patrols have stopped any major breaches on the fence. Only recently one of our weekend teams discovered a large branch had fallen down on top of the perimeter fence. They busily cut down the branch and reconstructed the fence back into its position and stopped any foxes getting a chance to make their way in. A fantastic effort and without this continuous dedication, this program couldn’t survive.”
Since October no new animals have been released. Travis says, “It’s time for them to breed on their own for a while - and I can assure you all they have been! Our last monitoring was done in the first week of December. This monitoring week was aimed at trying to catch our first generation of bred and born bandicoots onsite. These are called F1’s in science lingo! The great news is that we caught two F1’s. Both bandicoots were females and only weighing 170 grams, which is about the size of a small house mouse! Tiny, but successfully out of the pouch and learning to become independent with mum by their side. We also trapped mum and amazingly she had 3 new babies in her pouch about the size of a jelly bean! This is very encouraging as it means the conditions and habitat are perfect for the bandicoots. This year in April is when the next major trapping is planned and we should get a good indication on numbers - fingers crossed until then that they keep on breeding.”
Our volunteers have also been busily watering the grassland habitat they planted last year. According to Travis, “These plants are coming along well with all the extra water over a dry Christmas period. These plants should hopefully be at full size within a year and be ready for bandicoots to move in.” Other program activities have been continuous weed removal throughout the reserve, giving our native grasses the best chance to flourish.
For the entire calendar year from January to December 2013, volunteers contributed 570 individual days to the project. Travis comments, “This is an amazing effort – volunteers are making a huge difference. Once again, I would like to thank them all for putting in such a great effort and volunteering through all the tough conditions.”
Donations are making a significant difference as we can look to broaden our program, but we still have a long way to go. With further donations we hope to put in remote monitoring cameras, which we can use to record the bandicoots’ activity and numbers. This would also enable us to stream our fury friends on the website for everyone to see.
Thank you all very much for your support and kind donations - the bandicoots appreciate it and so do we!
*Cover image courtesy of Richard Hill
It’s been a busy start to the year for the Taking Care of the Elders program. We’ve received some very generous donations over the last few months, which have enabled us to purchase much needed materials for the construction of this large ‘retirement village’ for the Tasmanian Devils. A significant amount of timber rail has been purchased and installed along the perimeter fence. These activities have resulted in a noteworthy 220 square metres out of the 660 square metre perimeter fence now complete. We’re getting there, with your support!
The volunteers assisting with the construction are excited by their progress. Conservation Volunteers Australia Team Leader, Geoff Brown, commented: “The Bonorong project is great for many reasons! It’s a chance for volunteers from all sorts of backgrounds to directly help with the long term survival of the world’s largest marsupial carnivore. Along the way, volunteers learn practical conservation skills and have the chance to be a part of a community project. It is also a chance for many of them (including Tasmanians) to see Australian animals - like the Devils - that they may have never seen before.”
This great program will see many older devils live out their final days in a comfortable, disease free habitat – a great way to reward these animals for their contribution towards the continued future of their unique species. All involved within the program are looking forward to seeing the benefits of their hard work when the Devils can be released into the enclosure.
To complete this Devil ‘retirement village’, the program still requires further financial assistance. Conservation Volunteers Australia is seeking support for the acquisition of additional materials, including mulch to lay within the enclosure and mesh netting and pickets for the perimeter fence to keep the Devils safe. Donations can be made in set amounts for fencing materials or you can pledge your own amount and know that you are furthering the survival of this iconic species.
Our heartfelt thanks to those that have supported and donated to our Tasmanian Devil project so far. Your contribution ensures these important conservation efforts continue and that the Tasmanian Devil will have a Wild Future!