Wild Tasmanian Devils can only be found in Tasmania, the island State of Australia. Although devils live in zoos and wildlife parks around the world, the wild population is precious and must be preserved. We’re playing our part in the complex network of researchers, scientists and wildlife experts to try and ensure that happens – our role at Conservation Volunteers Australia is to carry out on-ground activities, with our committed volunteers, and provide as much practical help as we can. Your support is vital – it means we can deploy well-managed and equipped teams of volunteers to do what is needed.
Tasmanian Devils are marsupials, with the distinctive marsupial characteristic of carrying their young in a pouch. The devil is carnivorous – a meat eater – and is the largest carnivorous marsupial in the world. It took this spot after the sad extinction of the Thylacine, or Tasmanian Tiger. Threatened Species Day was declared in Australia 1996 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the death of the last remaining Tasmanian tiger at Hobart Zoo on 7th September 1936. Threatened Species Day is a time to reflect on what happened in the past and how similar fates to the thylacine could await other native animals and plants unless appropriate action is taken.
Early settlers hunted Tasmanian Devils because they thought devils would kill their farm animals. In 1941, devils were protected by law and their population numbers rose, but in recent years, the Devil Facial Tumour Disease has had a devastating effect on wild populations. Action is important, now more than ever, to play our part and ensure we don’t lose another species.
As we move into spring weather, our future plans include helping to dismantle some soft release enclosures in the north so they can be moved to the south of Tasmania. This process will help secure healthy wild populations of Tasmanian Devils for the future. We look forward to sharing news on progress in our next report, and thank you again for your generous support of the devils.
Our volunteers have been braving windy and wet conditions throughout winter, but they haven’t let it get in the way of planting season! Planting of native trees in riparian areas provides important food, nesting and roosting habitat for Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo and a myriad of other species. Winter is an important time in Perth to plant native seedlings across all ecosystems, as it gives them the best chance of survival through our hot summers. With rainfall mainly limited to June, July and August, our volunteers have planted thousands of seedlings on the dunes, along the Swan and Canning rivers and up in the hills.
Sunday the 30th of July was National Tree Day. Over 50 volunteers joined the City of Cockburn at Bibra Lake to plant 3,125 native seedlings. Bibra Lake is part of Beeliar Regional Park and is home to a diverse range of plants and animals including quendas, bandicoots and migratory water birds. This reserve provides a vital food source for the endangered Carnaby's Black Cockatoo. It was an amazing effort by everyone involved!
Volunteers have also been re-vegetating part of Lesmurdie Falls National Park, which provides an important roosting area for the cockatoos. Teams have been planting native seedlings and Regional Coordinator from the waterways. This makes the creek lines more accessible to all native animals and encourages the natural regeneration of the bushland.
We would like to thank our GlobalGiving donors, supporters and our volunteers. Without your support, we wouldn’t be able to make a difference to this important cause. If you are able to donate again or share our story with family and friends we would really appreciate it – every effort 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. As the rains ease off, our teams will start to manage the massive re-vegetation projects that happened over winter, and we look forward sharing our progress with you in our next report.
Over the last few months we have continued our conservation activities to bring back from extinction the Eastern Barred Bandicoot, at our two sites in Woodlands and Hamilton. It was great to report last month on our monitoring results, which showed healthy populations across both sites, however, without habitat for the bandicoots our population numbers would decline.
The volcanic plains network of grasslands, which stretch from Melbourne in a westerly direction to the South Australian border, is one of the rarest vegetation communities in the world. With only approximately 0.5% remaining, it’s understandable as to why the bandicoots are also threatened. During the mid-1800's, Victoria was being settled and farming was commencing. This volcanic soil that the grasslands grow on was the most nutritious for growing pasture grass and vegetables. It was also very easy to clear, with burning the easy choice, rather than clearing large forests that took a long time to create farmable land. As a result, these grasslands disappeared very quickly straining many small wildlife species and also making them more exposed and vulnerable to predators such as foxes (once they were introduced).
At both Woodlands and Hamilton, we are busy running programs to assist in the health of the grasslands. Around 1,000 seedlings including 7 different species of wild flowers are due to be planted over the next month. This will be fantastic as we are dramatically improving the biodiversity of the grasslands. To assist with this large-scale planting project, we have been fortunate to secure the services of Green Army teams. These are six month training programs for young Australian's to learn about the environment and put into practice their new found knowledge. The teams will also assist with weed control, an important task to support smaller grasses that easily become outcompeted by larger introduced species. Controlling and eliminating grazing pressure from rabbits is another major task being undertaken. Flexible 10m long inspection cameras are sent down the burrow systems to check if there are any bandicoots inside before collapsing the rabbit burrows.
In addition to these projects, our volunteers continue their diligent fence patrols and maintenance to keep our main predator, the fox, on the outside of our properties. Check out how brazen this fox is on the video as it happily runs alongside the car and the fence line. It is a challenging time of year with a lot more fox activity as the females are coming into breeding season and last year’s young are looking to create their own home.
We’d like to say a big thanks to our Green Army teams, project partners and countless volunteers who come out and give us a hand protecting these rare grasslands that house our beautiful bandicoots. We’d also like to give a heartfelt thank you to our Global Giving donors - your generous and ongoing support is invaluable to our efforts to protect the bandicoots.
Please consider donating or sharing our story with your family and friends – with your support, together we can safeguard the survival of the Eastern Barred Bandicoot and their habitat.