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Sep 27, 2019

Spring updates for Eastern Barred Bandicoots



Spring updates for Eastern Barred Bandicoots at Woodlands Historic Park.

In our last report we talked about the extreme weather challenges woodlands faced with such a dry summer and start of autumn.  I’m pleased to report that the rest of autumn and winter produced close to average rainfall.  This has meant that there was no loss of grasslands and recovery of the habitat has started to take place.  We are still in a holding pattern as the temperature is still quite low.  But the warmer days have started and already the grass length has doubled.  Once the temperature gets up the grasslands will explode as they are summer growers.  

The other very important requirement of the habitat improvement was to have the invertebrate insects return.  Great news is they have started to move back in.  So, the combination of insects and grass growth means that there’s going to be more space for bandicoots so hopefully some breeding will take place shortly.  We will get a good indication soon as each summer grasshoppers breed on site.  This is a great summer food source, so we look forward to it being a bumper crop this season.

Excitingly with the softer soils there has been more and more feeding digs found.  The bandicoots are really starting to scratch up the soil also indicating that the insects are returning.  

There is a big emphasis on keeping this new growth healthy.  This means a big program is commencing to control rabbits from grazing pressure on the habitat.  Several programs will take place over the coming months to significantly reduce their numbers.  Before the program starts a survey is always undertaken via spotlight count at night.  The positive news is that healthy looking bandicoots were seen.  They were not the primary target to look for, but eight individuals were sighted at all locations throughout the park.  

So, bring on the warmer weather and a splash of rain here and there and we look forward to seeing that grass grow.  Exciting times ahead.

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

Travis Scicchitano, Woodlands Project Officer

Jul 24, 2019

Restoring Natural Habitat For Over 10 Years

Photo Credit: Robert Nylander
Photo Credit: Robert Nylander

Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA) for over 10 years, and through the engagement of community members, have been restoring areas of natural habitat creating green ecological corridors for iconic South West Black Cockatoos; the endangered Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus latirostris) and the threatened Forrest Red Tail Black Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus banksii). The Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo and Forrest Red Tail Black Cockatoo are unique to the South West of Western Australia, from Geraldton to Esperance.


Since the 1970s, the population of the Carnaby’s Cockatoo has declined by more than a half. This is due to clearance of feeding and nesting habitat, removal of mature (at least 200-year-old) Eucalyptus trees that bear nesting hollows, competition from feral birds for existing nesting hollows and poaching. All of which are from human intervention.


Humans also have the choice to control the rate of these threatened birds by acting now to make a difference. CVA facilitates project days for people that want to make a difference by donating their time to volunteer with CVA and support habitat restoration for these federally protected birds. The Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo and Forrest Red Tail black Cockatoo are protected species under the Commonwealth’s Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Act 1999 and Western Australia’s Western Australian Wildlife Conservation Act 1950, regrettably their habitat is not protected resulting in their populations decline.


By making a donation, you enable the mobilisation of CVA Volunteer teams to work across the Perth metropolitan region and South West of Western Australia to protect and restore significant green ecological linkages for the bird’s survival. This is through revegetation of natural habitat and food sources and the suppressing of exotic invasive weeds and allows for native seedlings to germinate and grow. This along with protecting water sources vital for their survival, and the promotion of community education and knowledge transfer, will all assist in safeguarding and the restoration of these significant species and ecosystems.


Last financial year’s funding is being put towards habitat restoration for the Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo with the City of Cockburn, in partnership with the South West Group. The project will focus on weed management of revegetation sites to protect native seedlings survival rates to establish foraging grounds for the Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo in their urban movements of fragmented native bushland.

 Thank you for all your wonderful support.

Tristan Duke

State Manager, Western Australia

May 30, 2019

Autumn updates for Eastern Barred Bandicoots

Autumn updates for Eastern Barred Bandicoots at Woodlands Historic Park

Weather conditions have made life extremely tough for all wildlife at Woodlands historic park.


It was the driest ever start to the year since weather records have been kept in the regions of Melbourne.  The radar used for our weather data is Tullamarine and in January, February, March and April only 35mm of rain had fallen across the four months.  Average monthly rainfall is around 50-60mm.  Add to this extreme lack of rainfall the long hot summer weather the grasslands have suffered their biggest hit and dieback since the drought in the years of the 2000’s.  


But there has been some light at the end of the tunnel. In The current month of May we have already had 59mm of rain and there is a forecast of still another week of rain to come.  For months there I’d forgotten what the wet stuff looked like and no doubt the animals and plants did as well.  


So, what does this mean?  It means that it will take a few months at least until we start to see some good grassland growth.  As this type of environment grows well in warm conditions while the soil is warmer.  The grass will still grow during the cooler months but a little slower.  The fantastic news is that everything has recovered and is green again so it’s all there.  


Due to this our bandicoot numbers are still lower as they wait for the habitat to return.  Animals that have been monitored are still in good condition so it’s just a waiting game for the habitat to return and breeding will recommence.  As the grass dies back so do the invertebrate insects, grubs, worms etc that live in them as well.  So, it’s a double hit for the bandicoots with no grass to nest in and less food to eat.  


So, it’s a waiting game now.  However, we will try to speed up the process by planting more grasses and do extensive weed control to speed up the recovery.  


One animal that doesn’t mind the dry weather is the echidna.  There is a video of one happily roaming the woodlands looking for ants to eat, very cute!

So, let’s hope this rain continues and the grass grows, and insects come back in bigger numbers.  There are a few photos of a location showing how green it was at the start of January and how dry it had got at the start of May.  

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

Travis Scicchitano, Woodlands Project Officer


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