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Oct 21, 2014

Restoring Critical Habitat for Cockatoos

Carnaby
Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo

The iconic endangered Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoo and the vulnerable Forest Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo face an uncertain future because of urban development and historical land clearing that has dramatically diminished critical habitat.  This is compounded by the impacts of climate change and Phytophthora Dieback which is threatening native flora communities.  Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA) has continued to support Kaarakin Black Cockatoo Conservation Centre to rehabilitate degraded land in Beelu National Park this quarter.   This national park is adjacent to their centre and is 40 kilometres east of Perth. CVA has been restoring critical habitat by removing all non-native species and planting local native seedlings in their place. This will provide a valuable food source for the endangered Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoo and the vulnerable Forest Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo as well as important roosting and nesting locations, and helping with their long-term sustainability.   

By restoring critical habitat for the black cockatoos the project will provide an important food source and when the trees mature will provide vital roosting and nesting sites. The Perth Hills region is one of the last remaining urban habitats for the cockatoos and is severely degraded and under pressure so it is vital that this area is protected and enhanced.

Over the last three months CVA has engaged over 100 volunteers from our primary and high school program, adult community volunteering program and indigenous training program. They have cleared over 3,000 square meters of weeds and replaced the area with over 5,000 seedlings.

Rachel, the Acting Environmental Projects Manager at Kaarakin said she was: “really happy with the volunteers hard work and without their efforts we wouldn’t have been able to reach a milestone at Kaarakin of 10,000 seedlings planted”.

The long-term impact of the project is that it will help develop an important corridor of critical habitat for the endangered Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoo and the vulnerable Forest Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo and aid with their recovery.   Kaarakin often soft release rehabilitated cockatoos into this area.  This work will complement other restoration works that have been done in the region to convert degraded farm land into wildlife corridors. By providing corridors of critical habitat it enables the cockatoos to spread into new regions. The cockatoos have an important role as part of the ecosystem and this project will help create a sustainable future for them.

CVA would like to thank our supporters and volunteers.  Without your help, CVA couldn’t help out with 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.

View of the city across the old orchard
View of the city across the old orchard
Enjoying some seeds!
Enjoying some seeds!

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Oct 9, 2014

Watching Wombat Warrens for a Wild Future

Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat
Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat

We’ve had a busy few months at Brookfield Conservation Park with vegetation and wombat condition surveys being the key theme. These survey results are critical in helping us determine how to manage Brookfield Conservation Park and, in turn, the future of the Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat.

More than 20 volunteers have been getting up close and personal with nature by getting down on all fours identifying the weeds and the precious native grasses around the wombat warrens. Volunteers have also assisted with spotlighting at night and collecting data on the condition of this very cryptic animal. Volunteer Peter put it best: “I start to get excited a few days before the wombat projects - you never know what you will discover or even if you will see a wombat! They can be very elusive at times, although last week we saw seven in two days, very exciting”.

During the next quarter, we will have collected enough data to start using the results that will not only provide solid evidence in the management of the Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat, but will also enable us to promote these findings to support surrounding landholders. Neighbouring landholders regularly call us for advice on supporting the wombats they find on their properties so it is great to know that every donation goes a very long way helping to protect these wombats.

Of course, the work does not end there- we may be closer to understanding some of the issues relating to the health of the Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat but this is an on-going program that will ensure this unique mammal can survive the threats modern society presents.

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

Vegetation Surveys
Vegetation Surveys
Survey of Wombat Warrens at Brookfield
Survey of Wombat Warrens at Brookfield

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Aug 11, 2014

Lights, Cameras...Bandicoots!

Eastern Barred Bandicoot
Eastern Barred Bandicoot

Wow what an amazing few months at Woodlands Historic Park! We just recently held a 3 day monitoring session and such great results have been achieved.  Conservation Volunteers Australia’s Project Officer, Travis Scicchitano, reports: “Thirty individual bandicoots were caught for processing.  Fourteen of those were bred and born on-site, which is brilliant to be catching new animals!  We captured eleven females, ten of which had pouch young totalling 27 new babies.  This is a fantastic sign that the conditions are excellent and they have settled in.  Bring on the newest generation is what I say!  On top of this another encouraging sign is that I caught a female who was released on day one last July.  She was very healthy and pregnant again.  So we are seeing animals survive long term as well as producing so many offspring.  Once again all the animals are in very good condition with great body weight.  The spread of animals over the site is improving as well so they are out and about looking for new habitats.  This will make the breeding process speed up as they are filling the gaps.  I would like to think that by the end of next year we might have around 250 bandicoots on site.  This is fantastic news!”

With so many more animals, it brings with it the need for more monitoring traps and covers, believe it or not.  So all of your wonderful donations will help us achieve this goal.  The more traps we can run will mean better results for our monitoring. Please consider donating again if you can.

Another highlight was releasing four new bandicoots in August through Zoos Victoria’s breeding program.  Travis says, “This is excellent because it means more genetic diversity within the enclosure keeping them healthy.  So thanks to Zoos Victoria for the great work and we look forward to another release shortly.”    

Thanks to our wonderful donors, we have erected three infrared monitoring cameras. Check out our first short video using the new cameras, which captured a curious bandicoot sniffing out truffle oil. According to Travis, “These new cameras are proving a great success as we can watch the bandicoots acting naturally during the night hours.  It’s so wonderful to be able to see them like this in a non-invasive way.   This will also help with our research so you can see that the donations are really making a difference.”

Other project activities on-site have seen our volunteers tirelessly removing a shrub which has been taking over sections of the incredibly important grasslands.  Travis says, “Once this plant gets to maturity it doesn’t allow the grass to grow underneath, which takes out nesting sites for the bandicoots.   With the amount of plants cleared we have created enough area for another four bandicoots.  Not bad when there is only around 400 to 500 animals all together!  We have many enthusiastic volunteers joining the programs each time we go out. Such a brilliant result and we can’t do it without you!  

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

We look forward to bringing you more videos of these amazing bandicoots in the next report – stay tuned!

Health check, done!
Health check, done!
Volunteers checking traps
Volunteers checking traps
Bandicoot monitoring - good morning!
Bandicoot monitoring - good morning!

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