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Feb 7, 2018

Let the Rewilding Begin!

Brush-tailed bettong
Brush-tailed bettong

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.

Baby quoll
Baby quoll
Little Desert Nature Lodge Mallee Fowl Aviary
Little Desert Nature Lodge Mallee Fowl Aviary
Feb 5, 2018

New Bandicoot Population Growing!

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.

Grassland plantings
Grassland plantings
Summertime at Woodlands
Summertime at Woodlands

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Feb 5, 2018

Summer Plantings and More!

Thousands of seedlings planted
Thousands of seedlings planted

The last three months have seen our volunteers face some unusual weather for Perth.  With a milder summer, we have had the opportunity to do some planting in wetland sites around the Swan Canning Riverpark, a rare treat for this time of year!  The seedlings planted throughout these tributaries filter storm and road water runoff before it enters the rivers.  Carnaby’s Cockatoos, as with most birds, have a phenomenal memory when it comes to revisiting clean water sources and our volunteers have planted over 4,400 native seedlings along the waterways and catchments.

Although we have had a milder summer so far, we have still had several warm days and our teams have managed to produce considerable conservation outcomes at Baigup Wetland, despite the higher temperatures. Baigup Wetland is a significant remnant parcel of bushland, which forms part of the Swan River Flood Plain.  The area has an abundance of birdlife and we have visited this site regularly over the last couple of years.  

Baigup Wetlands Interest Group Coordinator, Penny was amazed with the results achieved, “I am astounded at the amount Tim’s CVA team managed to get done in such hot and steamy conditions. They did a sterling job.  Their weeding efforts also exposed stakes that no longer had a living plant next to them, and these have now been removed. This area is coming on very nicely now with some well-established shrubs, ground covers and trees surviving well.”

We would like to thank our generous GlobalGiving donors and our volunteers.  Without your support, we wouldn’t be able to make a difference.  If you are able to donate again, 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 we move out of summer and into autumn, our teams will start to prepare sites for winter planting.

Removing invasive weeds at Baigup Wetlands
Removing invasive weeds at Baigup Wetlands
Volunteers at Bannister Creek
Volunteers at Bannister Creek

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