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Jan 6, 2015

Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat Surveys Continue

Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat
Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat

With a small amount of rain and some sunny weather, it is amazing how the landscape can respond with new growth on vegetation, plants flowering and wildlife on the move. Although we are still struggling to get a good supply of Austrostipa (native grass) for the Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat to feast on, we have had some excellent results in collecting its seed from surrounding areas. This is in anticipation of creating a seed orchard which will secure future seed source and increase this preferred food for the Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat across the Park.

Over 300 volunteer days have been spent on ground in the past few months. Volunteers have been removing  heavily infested areas of weeds, clearing the way for our native plants to re-establish themselves. Adelaide volunteer Tom says, “It’s one of the satisfying parts of volunteering – knowing you are having a real impact on weeds and ultimately the survival of the wombat. I thought it would be hard going but to spend a day in this fantastic place – nothing could be further from the truth!”. Volunteers have also undertaken eight days of wombat warren surveys, adding to the crucial data collection that takes us that little bit closer to finding out what the population is in the region. Wildlife Researcher, Dr Mark Lethbridge has been collating this data and said we are very close to having enough information to start getting some results. “Just a few more surveys on wombat warrens and vegetation surveys around the warrens is all we need. Then we can start extrapolating information that will help guide us in the management of the Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat and improve its chances of survival in this region.”

As we move into 2015, we have set the dates for vegetation surveys and wombat warren surveys and eager for people to continue to support this critical program – there’s still much to do!

Thank you again for donating to the Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat appeal this year. Your contribution is directly supporting the management and survival of this unique and much loved animal. We look forward to keeping you up-to-date with our progress throughout 2015.

Volunteers Removing Weeds
Volunteers Removing Weeds
Volunteer Tom
Volunteer Tom

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Nov 6, 2014

Bandicoot Bonanza at Woodlands Historic Park

Eastern Barred Bandicoot
Eastern Barred Bandicoot

With such a great result in our winter trapping, we just had to get back out there and do it all again.  Two weeks later we reset the traps, and to our amazement, the results the second time around were better than the first trapping. 

Conservation Volunteers Australia’s Project Officer, Travis Scicchitano, reports:  “We trapped for 7 days over a two week period, and across the 7 days we had 130 bandicoot captures with 56 individuals caught, 31 clean skins, 34 males, 22 females and 56 pouch young! Two females were caught with 4 pouch young. The break down for the two weeks was as follows:

  • Week 1: 36 captures, 30 individuals, 14 clean skins, 19 male, 11 female, 19 pouch young
  • Week 2: 94 captures, 47 individuals, 17 clean skins, 31 male, 16 female, 40 pouch young

The incredibly exciting news is that our numbers grew from day to day for the first time since trapping started.  Also the number of new clean skin animals increased the second time around, which was fantastic.” 

We have our final monitoring session for the year coming up at the end of November.  According to Travis, “Due to the success of winter we will have to work even harder.  Currently we need three teams to help monitor the site, but due to the large number of new animals, we are going to have to increase to five teams.  This is to speed up the process so we can reduce the time in traps and send our bandicoots back on their merry way.”

In more positive news Melbourne Zoo’s veterinary team have been out testing the blood work of the bandicoots to make sure any disease is picked up on site.  Travis says, “ I’m very happy to report that all results have been negative so far, which means our little friends are not only doing well in their new home, but in top shape health wise as well.“

One more bandicoot was released from the breeding program in late August, and based on these latest numbers he would have many new friends on his first night in his new home.

Our volunteers have continued their outstanding efforts, maintaining the newly planted grassland as a priority.  Travis says, “With earlier than expected hot weather, combined with not much rainfall, plenty of watering is needed at the site.  It’s a long task but certainly worth all the hard effort after getting the plants in.”

So once again great work everyone involved from Conservation Volunteers Australia, Parks Victoria, volunteers, donors and all members of the Eastern Barred Bandicoot Recovery Team who have assisted with making this possible.

We look forward to updating you in the New Year with our latest trapping results!

New grassland planting
New grassland planting
Liz from our Melbourne team releasing super-coot!
Liz from our Melbourne team releasing super-coot!
Volunteers checking the traps
Volunteers checking the traps

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Oct 21, 2014

Devils Retirement Village - First Residents Moving In

Tasmanian Devil relaxing in the sun
Tasmanian Devil relaxing in the sun

Conservation Volunteers Australia in partnership with Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary have spent the last 12 months building a large retirement village for the aging Tasmanian devil population. This enclosure will see up to 25 devils, who previously participated in breeding programs, housed for the remainder of their marsupial days! These senior citizens have contributed towards increasing healthy devil populations and in turn securing a future for their species. We thought it was only fair to provide them with a safe and disease free future.

The enclosure itself is now complete and includes natural and native habitat, isolation/segregation areas, common sniffing platforms, digging mounds and sleeping facilities – everything a devil could want! Steve Bailey, the State Manager of Conservation Volunteers Australia in Hobart, said “What an impressive structure this is, built from such a wide range of materials. It is a fine example of what can be achieved through great leadership and teamwork.”

Conservation Volunteers Australia and Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary would like to thank everyone who has been involved in helping this unique species. There have been significant contributions at various levels such as; over 50 people volunteering their time to assist in the construction of the enclosure, financial donations and material donations for the equipment needed and promotion of this worthy project. A local volunteer who has provided a great deal of assistance said “I am very excited to see the enclosure so close to completion and it will be very heart-warming to see the devils released.”

The next task is to install water facilities. Irrigation systems and drinking facilities are essential for the devils inhabiting the ‘retirement village’. We need your help to implement this utility and see devils on the ‘waiting list’ released into this terrific enclosure to begin their lives of leisure. Financial contributions, big or small, will help to secure irrigation materials for the enclosure.  We will also continue maintaining the enclosure to keep predators away, and we are planning more projects to protect Tasmanian Devils with your support.

Our dedicated volunteer team!
Our dedicated volunteer team!
The finishing touches
The finishing touches
Our hard-working Team Leader Geoffrey!
Our hard-working Team Leader Geoffrey!

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