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Nov 13, 2018

Thank You for Your Support

Tasmanian Devil Breeding project
Tasmanian Devil Breeding project

Thank You for Supporting the Help Save the Tasmanian Devil Projects

As the Help Save the Tasmanian Devil projects come to a close, Conservation Volunteers Australia would like to thank all those involved and share some of our achievements with you.

From the beginning of the project, it was Conservation Volunteers Australia’s aim to ensure there is a healthy future for Tasmanian Devils by constructing safe, comfortable dens and protective breeding enclosures at Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary. A number of crucial structures within the enclosures, including digging mounds and sniffing platforms provide Devils with the essentials to utilise their natural behavioural characteristics and communicate effectively with each other.

A particularly satisfying part of the project was being able to involve the local community to join in and help maximise the generous support of our Global Giving donors through applied, everyday action. This was demonstrated by enthusiastic volunteers completing enclosures as part of the 'Nurturing the Tasmanian Devil' project, providing Tasmanian Devils involved in the breeding program more space and shelter. Really a great effort! 

With the ongoing help of all our wonderful volunteers, Conservation Volunteers Australia has been able to install 25 Devil dens, providing a safe and comfortable habitat for the retired Devil. The construction of a large ‘Retirement Village’ to humanely house older disease-free Tasmanian Devils that are no longer required for breeding purposes, ensures a safe place for them to live out their lives. Much focus was also placed on improvement to the surrounding landscapes and ecosystems which assists other local native wildlife to flourish.

With a large proportion of the wild population of Tasmanian Devils at risk from the deadly Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD), it was vital that an ‘insurance population’ of healthy Devils be carefully managed through captive breeding to ensure the species' survival.  

This required providing a healthy and safe environment for quarantined Tasmanian Devils on the Australian mainland. Conservation Volunteers Australia assisted in habitat maintenance for a population of disease-free Devils being housed in New South Wales to further boost population numbers of healthy Tasmanian Devil individuals. This type of program is vital for the future of the Tasmanian Devil.

Our very special thanks also goes to our Global Giving donors, who have become such an important part of the Help Save the Tasmanian Devil projects. With your help we have been able to achieve our goals and provide the Tasmanian Devil with much needed support and hope for the future.

There is still much to do, as the prognosis for wild Devils is sadly not so rosy. Scientists are estimating a possible wild population extinction within the next decade.  Creating and managing these types of programs for ‘captive breeding’ and ‘insurance populations’ of Tasmanian Devils is paramount to the species survival, should the wild population completely succumb to the deadly DFTD, and disappear from the forests of Tasmania altogether.

It has been a real pleasure working with the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary and the Tasmanian government over the past 6 years and we look forward to collaborating with them on many other projects in the future.

So as we close the Help Save the Tasmanian Devil project, all our thanks from everyone here at Conservation Volunteers Australia and Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary. Your help and generous donations have provided the Tasmanian Devil population with vital research, monitoring and breeding programs, all of which have made a real difference.

We look forward to your ongoing support of our future projects. Thank you again.

Renae Riviere - State Manager

Tasmanian Devil Retirement Village Construction
Tasmanian Devil Retirement Village Construction
Volunteers assist with Pen Construction
Volunteers assist with Pen Construction
Tasmanian Devil
Tasmanian Devil
Tasmanian Devil successful breeding project
Tasmanian Devil successful breeding project
Nov 12, 2018

New Rewilding Infrastructure Complete

Rewilding Project Aviary
Rewilding Project Aviary

New Rewilding Infrastructure Complete

Late last year we were received a grant from the Victorian State Government’s Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning to redevelop our wildlife education and captive breeding facility. We are proud to announce that this redevelopment is now complete, and we have accommodation to house a suite of locally extinct, nationally threatened species.

In this project we have:

-          Constructed 180m meters of new fencing

-          Created 8 new enclosures

-          Developed 400m of new walking track

-          Engaged 46 volunteers who contributed 1,130 hours of their time

The next step is the fun bit, finding some animals to come and live in them! We look forward to this critical milestone, and to bringing these animals back to the region for the first time in over 100 years. Along with contributing to a national network of predator proof facilities and help prevent these species from becoming extinct.

To accompany the new experience, we also developed a number of high-quality wildlife education and interpretive experiences to help improve the knowledge and awareness of biodiversity and wildlife conservation issues. By highlighting the plight of these locally extinct native species and housing them in our safe havens at the Little Desert Nature Lodge, we will create a rare and unique chance for the community and visitors to see, experience and connect with, our cryptic threatened species and thereby increase knowledge and awareness of these species and their conservation issues.

Now with this significant milestone completed, we will turn our attention to developing our research and rewilding reintroduction program. However, before reintroductions begin we still need to make some critical upgrades to our external predator proof fences. To make this happen we need your support to buy rolls of wire, netting, fence pins, posts and screws! So please continue to give generously!

To our amazing supporters and donors, we would again like to say thank you! Without your support we cannot continue this critical project and help conserve Australia’s weird, wonderful and highly threatened native wildlife.

 

Ben Holmes, Manager Rewilding

Rewilding Project Internal Fence
Rewilding Project Internal Fence
Rewilding Project Volunteers Assisting
Rewilding Project Volunteers Assisting
Rewilding Project Internal Fence and Gate
Rewilding Project Internal Fence and Gate
Nov 7, 2018

Spring Monitoring Season

Eastern Barred Bandicoot
Eastern Barred Bandicoot

Spring monitoring at Woodlands Historic Park and Hamilton Community Parklands

Since our last monitoring events in autumn this year, we have been hoping for rain to help our grasslands come along. Thankfully, Hamilton Community Parklands has had some decent rain and the grasslands are in good condition. Unfortunately, Woodlands Historic Park had gone through a dry winter, as well as dry previous summer months. This meant monitoring still had to be done to see how our bandicoot population was fairing.

Woodlands Historic Park trapping took place during the month of October. Approximately 230 traps were set for four nights of surveying. This equates to 23 kilometres to be walked at first light every morning, all in less than four hours. A massive task. This is achieved by breaking the property into six teams to be able to process all the traps effectively. Zoos Victoria play a huge role in assisting the event by providing trained bandicoot handlers. Along with all the volunteers who help, the handlers enter the data gathered electronically, hand over processing gear, and clean and reset the traps.

Earlier in autumn we caught 45 bandicoots. The hope for this monitoring session was not to have the ant population decline during the dry period which would significantly affect their food supply. The good news is that a total of 50 bandicoots were processed. A positive increase from the previous season. 20 of these were cleanskins (never been caught before),32 male,18 female, and the females were carrying a total of 27 pouch young. This is exciting, as at our last event no pouch young were recorded.

The most positive outcome was that the bandicoots were in a healthy condition. The success of bandicoots breeding strongly depends on the quality of their habitat conditions. So, it was fantastic to see them healthy and having adapted so well to their current habitat. We are also very hopeful, that when the grassland habitat starts to restore itself, there should be an increase in their numbers. For now though they are doing well in this scenario. 

Hamilton's update will have to be in our next report, as they trap in mid-November. All the signs are looking good for a positive monitoring session. The habitat looks fantastic, so there is plenty of grass nesting sites and plenty of food for the bandicoots. In recent spotlighting events there have been great numbers recorded, of both adult and juvenile animals. Catching them however, is still a challenge.

Woodlands and Hamilton both have plenty of brush tail possums which get to the traps early, and they often set the traps off, getting caught in the process. But we are still hopeful to catch a good number of bandicoots to see how the population is progressing. During the winter there has also been plenty of upgrades done on the properties predator proof fence, weed control and habitat improvement.

So all in all, it has been a great start to the Spring monitoring season

Once again, great work everyone. Thanks for those involved from Conservation Volunteers Australia, Parks Victoria, and all the volunteers, along with the members of the Eastern Barred Bandicoot Recovery Team, who have all assisted in making this project possible.

Travis Scicchitano, Woodlands Project Officer

Eastern Barred Bandicoot
Eastern Barred Bandicoot
 
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