Nov 4, 2013

Taking Care of the Elders project: Devils Delight!

Making sure the posts are level for the devils
Making sure the posts are level for the devils

There’s been lots of action since the last report on our Taking Care of the Elders project, and fencing remains our main priority to establish the boundary of the 660 square metre Tasmanian Devil enclosure.

Our volunteers have been busy building the free-range enclosure with 80 logs now in place for the perimeter wall. When finished this will be a safe and secure place for the Tasmanian Devils that are retiring from the breeding program at Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary. Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary (pronounced “Bon-a-rong” – Aboriginal meaning “Native Companion”) was established in 1981 as a sanctuary for injured and orphaned wildlife and is Tasmania’s most popular wildlife park. 25 Devil dens have also been built and installed, with two types of dens designed for this enclosure – one is made from timber, and the other made from fruit juice drums.

We’ve had many volunteers from across Australia and around the world join our teams and all involved have enjoyed the chance to help the aging Devil population ease into a restful retirement. They have found this a worthy and enjoyable program to be a part of and all look forward to the completion of this retirement village for the Tasmanian Devil. Steve Bailey, Conservation Volunteers Australia’s State Manager in Tasmania, commented that the volunteers have done a great job so far: “Volunteers give their time and efforts freely to help with the on-ground works. The Devil enclosure has gained a significant amount of materials now; but more building materials are still needed for upcoming works to be completed – we have many more volunteers who are ready and willing to help!”

Your valuable donation will assist in acquiring these vital materials needed to complete this project.  Donations can be made in set amounts for fencing materials, plants and tools – or pledge your own amount and know that you are furthering the survival of this remarkable species.

Our sincere 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!

The Devil dens in place
The Devil dens in place
Volunteers securing the perimeter fence posts
Volunteers securing the perimeter fence posts

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Aug 12, 2013

Bandicoots bounding into their new home!

Bandicoots love to hide in long grass!
Bandicoots love to hide in long grass!

Dear Eastern Barred Bandicoot supporter,

Firstly, a huge THANK YOU to everyone that has donated to our project so far.  Your donation has helped our project’s continuing success - and today we are delighted to bring you wonderful news about our newest milestone towards saving the Eastern Barred Bandicoot (or EBB for short) from extinction!

Our Eastern Barred Bandicoot Revival Program is moving ahead in bandicoot leaps and bounds!  As part of Conservation Volunteers Australia’s Wild Futures program, the Eastern Barred Bandicoot Revival Project has achieved an incredible milestone with the recent release of 32 of these critically endangered bandicoots into the newly protected and restored habitat.

Bandicoots are considered ‘Extinct on the Wild’ in Victoria, only existing through captive breeding programs at wildlife parks, zoos and protected habitats.  However, with breeding program success increasing, there was an urgent need for a larger, predator-proof habitat that bandicoots could breed and flourish in.  This recent release into this new native habitat is a fantastic step (or should we say hop?) forward towards Eastern Barred Bandicoot recovery and demonstrates the many hours of work our teams have done to ready the site.

EBB team members and volunteers have worked tirelessly since 2010 to install, repair and maintain 7 kilometres of predator proof fence around the new 300ha habitat, affectionately known as the ‘Back Paddock’ at Woodlands Historic Park near Melbourne, Victoria.  With the fence construction completed in late 2012 and ongoing maintenance and habitat enhancement progressing well, the area was also declared free of foxes and other predators.  It was time for our long-awaited residents to enjoy their new, natural surroundings.

In July we released the first bandicoots back into the site!  Bandicoot individuals were chosen from a variety of wildlife parks throughout Victoria to ensure diverse genetics for our new population.  Prior to release into the large habitat, the bandicoots were gradually adapted to life outdoors, including honing their skills in natural foraging and aerial predator avoidance, to better prepare them for life in the Great Outdoors at Woodlands Historic Park.

Post-release monitoring has shown that the individuals are settling in well and already vying with each other for mates.  This is a fantastic indication of good habitat, natural behaviours and a large natural space that they can roam around in.  Hopefully we will soon hear the pitter-patter of little bandicoot feet…

Our passionate EBB Project Officer, Travis Scicchitano is proud of the project’s newest achievement, “This is such a great example of how people can come together to help save a species.  The project combines volunteers donating their time to carry out these important conservation activities, with wonderful and generous financial support from donors from right across the globe.  No matter where you are in the world, you can help make a real difference to this remarkable species!”

Attention will now turn to maintaining the predator-proof fence and patrolling it daily to ensure that any breaches to the fence from burrowing animals are quickly repaired.  In addition, important habitat enhancement and monitoring work will also take place to provide more food and shelter and assess the health of these new marsupial residents.

Your donation will assist in making this all possible.  Together we can ensure that the Eastern Barred Bandicoot does indeed hop away from the threat of extinction and enjoy a Wild Future!

Volunteers check and maintain the important fence
Volunteers check and maintain the important fence
A final health check before release!
A final health check before release!
Travis releasing our newest bandicoot resident!
Travis releasing our newest bandicoot resident!

Links:

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:

 
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