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.
Although the rain set in early, making it a long cold winter, our volunteers and teams have been as busy as ever.
Over the past few months our volunteers have helped construct another seven trap grids in preparation for the spring trapping program – that’s 70 more buckets and ¼ mile of drift fencing. In total we have now set up 39 monitoring sites, dug in nearly 400 pitfall buckets and erected over 1.25 miles of drift fencing.
With our project partner, FAUNA Research Alliance, we assembled a small group of research scientist to evaluate the progress of the project and start planning for the reintroduction of animals. Everyone was happy with the progress thus far, and excitingly, we have set some dates to reintroduce threatened wildlife into our predator-proof properties!
We are planning to conduct our first experimental release in spring 2018. This reintroduction will involve soil engineers; animals that excavate the soil searching for subterranean food like the Brush-tailed Bettong (pictured below), Western Barred Bandicoot or Burrowing Bettong. Then in spring 2019, we aim to reintroduce some of the native predator species missing from the landscape, like the Western Quoll (pictured) and Red-tailed Phascogale. The aim is to, in time, reintroduce all the native species required to restore a fully functioning ecosystem.
Prior to reintroducing the locally extinct, nationally endangered species, we need to ensure that our predator proof fence is up to standard and will keep the important wildlife in and the invasive, introduced predators out. With the help of over 80 volunteers we have commenced the monumental task of checking, repairing and upgrading the seven miles of predator proof fencing. To date we have checked and repaired ½ a mile.
Although we are making progress, work is slowed by a lack of resources. Before reintroductions begin we must have the facilities and capacity to acquire, house and breed these rare native animals. To achieve this we need to repair and upgrade not only our external predator-proof fences, but our wildlife housing and captive breeding infrastructure as well. To make this happen we need your support to buy rolls of wire, netting, fence pins, posts and screws! Please consider donating again or sharing our story with family and friends to help us secure these resources, and take the next steps to reintroducing our threatened wildlife.
We’d like to say a heartfelt thank you to all our amazing supporters and donors! Without your support we cannot continue this critical project and help conserve Australia’s weird, wonderful and highly threatened native wildlife.