Our first wombat surveys for 2018 will take place at the end of March. Over the past few months we have been busy honing the survey technique and data collection methods, which will allow us to be ready to hit the ground running on our first day of monitoring.
We’ve also been liaising with property owners in our priority monitoring sites, to identify additional suitable survey locations to include in our March surveys. Our aim is to ensure that every time we conduct surveys, we grow the project to add more sites and increase our understanding of the impact of mange at these locations.
Volunteers on the first monitoring project will be heading up onto Tasmania’s Central Plateau. From previous surveys, we know that there is mange on this property and this project will assist the landholder to understand how much of an impact it has had on the population over the past 6 months, and whether it is moving to other areas of the property. They will then use this information to determine best practice manage management for the wombats on their land.
We have a long road ahead of us, with many hours of monitoring still to come, and we are grateful for the support from our volunteers and donors. We’d like to thank all our wonderful volunteers who show so much passion and dedication for these wombats, as well as our generous GlobalGiving donors who continue to support our success in this project - you really are making a significant difference to the survival of our wombats!
As we move in to our survey season, we look forward to bringing you the results of our monitoring efforts in our next update. Stay tuned!
We're excited to share with you that we have been successful in receiving a grant form the Victorian State Government's Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning to redevelop our wildlife education and captive breeding facility. This is a critical milestone for the project as it will allow us to bring back to the Wimmera, for the first time in over 100 years, locally extinct, nationally threatened species; including: the burrowing bettong, western barred bandicoot, brush-tailed bettong and spot-tail quoll.
By creating safe havens and returning locally extinct native wildlife back to the Wimmera, we will contribute to a network of predator proof facilities and help prevent these species from becoming extinct.
Another objective of this project is to develop a high-quality wildlife education and engagement experience to improve Victorians' 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.
Throughout this project we will provide opportunities for volunteers and the community to participate in a meaningful wildlife conservation project and connect with nature by helping us construct this unique wildlife facility.
While we are working on the redevelopment of our captive breeding and wildlife display facilities to house and breed these rare native animals, we are continuing to develop and progress 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. We look forward to keeping you up-to-date with our progress throughout the year.
Happy New Year - we hope you had a great holiday season! We are looking forward to another year of bandicoot conservation and bringing you updates on our progress across our three reserves - Woodlands Historic Park, Hamilton and the new site at Philip Island.
We are in the midst of a very hot summer period here in Victoria. We’ve had a couple of rainfall events but nothing consistent, which means it’s been quite dry on average. This provides many challenges when looking after our bandicoot reserves. Ensuring fire breaks are maintained is extremely important as fire could lead to a major catastrophe. To help reduce this risk and keep our bandicoots safe, part of our fire management plan includes reducing fuel around the reserves and inside the fire breaks.
This time of year also gives us an opportunity to remove many weed species that compete with our native grasslands and our volunteers have been a fantastic help with such a large task. Fence maintenance checks and repairs are also completed during this period to ensure we are well prepared ahead of the winter months.
Conservation Volunteers Australia’s Project Officer, Travis Scicchitano reports: “At Woodlands we have been lucky to have a Green Army team assisting us on site. This team of nine members has been learning all about conservation from their supervisor, through educational training and practical hands-on experience. They have done an amazing job and we’re grateful for their help and enthusiasm. Over 70 hectares of serrated tussock have been sprayed. This is a noxious weed grass that can take over the native species. They have also built two, one-hectare exclusion fence plots. These keep the rabbits and kangaroos out, which gives the vegetation a chance to return. The team has also planted around 10,000 native grasses and wild flowers. The wild flowers are very small at the moment, but come winter and spring there is going to be a beautiful burst of colour. With the help of our volunteers, they have all made a significant contribution in protecting and enhancing the rare grasslands and bandicoot habitat.”
In December last year, we relocated six bandicoots (five male and one female) to the new reserve on Phillip Island, bringing the total to 67. Travis says: “Recent monitoring has shown the bandicoots to be thriving in their new home, with signs of digging and movement across the entire site. There is also evidence of breeding on-site and we’re all excited to see the new population growing so quickly!”. Stay tuned for further updates in our next report as we enter into our monitoring season.
It has been a great start to the year and we would like to thank our generous GlobalGiving donors for their continued support. Big thanks also goes to everyone involved from Conservation Volunteers Australia, Parks Victoria and all members of the Eastern Barred Bandicoot Recovery Team who have assisted with making this possible.