Conservation Volunteers is proud to announce the ‘Taking Care of the Elders’ Program is nearing completion and we are aiming to have the enclosure complete in a months’ time. This year-long program to provide a ‘retirement village’ for ageing Tasmanian devils is now taking shape and will be ready for its residents soon. The enclosure will see up to 25 healthy senior devils housed at one time. The ‘retirement village’ includes natural and native habitat, isolation/segregation areas, common sniffing platforms, digging mounds and sleeping facilities – everything a devil could want!
The exterior fence that stretches approximately 600m across the hill of Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary is now completely established. To complete the fence, 80 fencing post were installed, timber rail was used for stability and hundreds of sheets of second-hand roofing iron was sourced and secured with thousands of special screws to enable completion. The 24 devil dens are also complete and ready to accommodate the ageing carnivorous marsupials. To finalise the ‘retirement village’ community volunteers will secure the remaining wire mesh along the exterior wall of the enclosure to ensure there are no digging devil escapees. (Nobody can get out - nobody can get in!).
Conservation Volunteers would like to express thanks for all donations received for this program, without these generous contributions we would not have been able to purchase all materials for the project and ensure the devils are able to live out the remainder of their days in a disease free environment. “Volunteer contributions towards this worthy project have been outstanding and humbling. It is great to see so many people helping this unique Tasmanian animal”, said Amy Bailey, Regional Coordinator at Conservation Volunteers Tasmania.
If you’re able to donate again we would really appreciate it – every donation will help us to continue achieving these great conservation results and see the devils move into their new, disease free, home. We also need to continue maintaining the enclosure to keep predators away. Stay tuned for the next update, when we hope to report on the Devils being transferred into their Retirement Village!
Thank you again for supporting this project.
Winter is well and truly here at Brookfield Conservation Park! We have had some super rainfalls and the Park is looking very green – not bad for a semi-arid location! This is good news for our Southern Hairy-nosed Wombats, as the rains will hopefully bring new growth of their favourite food – Austrostipa.
Vegetation Surveys are currently the priority at Brookfield. One of the best comments we had recently from a volunteer, Greg, summed up many people’s experiences at Brookfield: “This is marvellous – I feel like David Attenborough!” Greg knows that these priority surveys are assisted financially by the donors from Global Giving and he is most appreciative. As are mother and daughter team Tracy & Eloise who have also assisted with the vegetation surveys. Eloise is 16 years and said: “I didn’t realise I could help do such important things for the environment. I am still at school and thought only university people could do things like this. It’s awesome!”
Tracy was surprised how little she knew about the plight of the Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat in the Mallee: “I hadn’t realised what a precarious position the wombats were in. They are in such a vulnerable state up here.” She was amazed at how easy it was to help: “This is such an easy way to help – just a little bit of my time and we can make a huge difference by collecting this information, and it is so interesting!” Global Giving donors not only support the on-ground activities that help preserve the Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat and its habitat, but also help educate the community by spreading the word through these volunteers.
Whilst these priority surveys continue, plans are underway for vegetation exclosures. We have selected the sites and volunteers will be out in upcoming projects to collect seed for the exclosures. However, financial assistance is still needed to purchase the materials. The exclosures have to be secure enough to keep the other wildlife grazers out and large enough to support the research and the collection of future seed. This will provide a great seed source for future revegetation and concise data for future rehabilitation and management. Your support will help us with these next steps for the Park. Donations can be made in set amounts for materials or you can pledge your own amount and know that you are furthering the survival of this iconic species.
Thank you again for your generous support. It has provided much activity at the Park recently and has also provided the impetus for future project ideas, which will soon include the assistance of Dr Elisa Sparrow, well known wombat researcher across South Australia – stay tuned for the next update!
It’s been an exciting and busy few months with our first monitoring event for 2014 held in April. Conservation Volunteers Australia’s Project Officer, Travis Scicchitano, reports: “We spent three days trapping, with 161 traps set across the 300 hectare site at Woodlands. This meant 16 kilometres had to be walked each day to complete the monitoring of the traps. Over 300 tasty bait balls were patiently and perfectly rolled by our trusty volunteers to attract the bandicoots. This was a great effort as it takes one person a very long time! So with traps set it was onto giving our little furry friends a health check.”
The great news is that, over the three days, a total of 18 bandicoots were monitored. Travis says, “Even greater news is that we finally have become grandparents. We discovered two brand new bandicoots that were born and bred on site with pouch young. This is a fantastic step in the success for the breeding on site. We caught a balanced mixture of male and females, as well as two individuals from previous releases that we had never caught. This shows great survival signs long term at Woodlands. The condition of the bandicoots was also a pleasing aspect. After an incredibly hot, dry and long summer the animals have all gained significant weight, on average around 100 grams per adult. We also found the first baby bandicoot which was trapped last December weighing only 170 grams– it now weighs a whopping 510 grams! This is remarkable and a great sign of perfect habitat at Woodlands.”
Our significant progress at Woodlands is all thanks to our donors, supporters and volunteers, however we still have a long way to go. Our next step with this program is to put in remote monitoring cameras, bought with your support, which we can use to record the bandicoots’ activity and numbers. This will also enable us to stream our furry friends on our website for everyone to see.
Over the past month, we’ve also been able to attract some great media support to spread the bandicoots’ story! The video attached comes from Australia’s ‘Today’ breakfast program, broadcast nationally and showing Travis in action carrying out a bandicoot health check. We hope you enjoy watching it and seeing what you’ve helped to achieve! Thank you all again for your support - our bandicoots love their new home, which is going a long way to increasing their numbers and the survival of the species. We really appreciate your support for this project, and hope that you are enjoying our reports and pictures so far.
If you’re able to donate again we would really appreciate it – every donation will help us to continue achieving these great conservation results. Our most pressing need at the moment are donations to help us restore the grassland habitat that the bandicoots so urgently need to survive – we’re moving into the time of year that is best to get new grasses established, and we have plenty of volunteers ready and willing to help if we can buy enough grasses to get started. We also need to continue maintaining the fence to keep predators away from our growing population of bandicoots. Thank you again.