We have just completed our spring monitoring in Hamilton, and once again the site is looking fantastic due to good winter and spring rainfall. Conservation Volunteers Australia’s Project Officer, Travis Scicchitano reports: “Our spotlighting produced numbers of more than 30 individuals in only an hour, which is a great indication that our bandicoots are thriving. The local community are invited to these events and it’s such a thrill to see them engaged and excited about their local marsupial recovery. All the animals passed their health checks easily and all the females had pouch young, ranging in size from little ‘jelly beans’ to fully furred critters. If they didn’t have babies they all had teats that showed signs of lactation, which means they were rearing babies nearby in the nest. It was an excellent result and no doubt our individual count has gone up significantly.”
Woodlands Historical Park monitoring took place in mid-October. Woodlands received under average rainfall this season that reduced the quality of the grassland habitat. Travis explains: “The Eastern Barred Bandicoot breeds to the conditions available so it has the ability to very quickly increase or decrease its breeding, making for a healthier population. Fortunately, we only witnessed a small drop in numbers during this round of monitoring. We also had veterinarians set up for this event to assist in health checks and a few blood tests (yes even bandicoots get blood tests!). The vets gave all the animals a clear bill of health – great news for the species!”
We are also very excited to announce that we now have a brand-new home for bandicoots at Phillip Island! Phillip Island is located 140 km (87 mi) south-southeast of Melbourne, Victoria, with an area of about 100 km2 (40 sq mi). This site is managed by Phillip Island Nature Parks who are part of the Eastern Barred Bandicoot recovery team. The Island is now fox free and has become the first island to assist in threatened species recovery. Check out the video from our friends at Zoos Victoria, documenting the largest release of Eastern Barred Bandicoots ever!
Even though it is not on the mainland of Australia, Phillip Island will provide invaluable numbers to assist in the overall recovery of the bandicoots. Woodlands played a pivotal role in this first release of bandicoots. There were 44 bandicoots released in total into the new site – 10 from Woodlands (5 male and 5 female), 11 from Zoos Victoria and 23 from Chrurchill Island, which is an offshoot to Phillip Island. Travis says, “we hope they all enjoy their new home and start breeding to increase the population. This event is also a significant showcase in how agencies can all come together to achieve an amazing result. Well done and thank you to the entire Easter Barred Bandicoot Recovery team.”
We’d like to say thank you to our very generous GlobalGiving donors again for your ongoing support. It has been an incredibly successful year, with significant steps made towards securing a future for the Eastern Barred Bandicoot. We look forward to updating you on our progress in 2018.
As we moved into spring this quarter, we thought there might be some reprise from the rain. But it was not to be as the last couple of months have been quite wet in Perth. This has been great news for our wetland and river sites where we have still been able to plant native seedlings to provide habitat and improve water quality. Over the last three months, we have planted more than 1,500 native seedlings and removed over 4 hectares of invasive weeds! A truly fantastic effort by all our teams.
Our volunteers had the opportunity to visit a couple of new sites over spring and were rewarded with some wonderful wildflower displays. Wildflower Reserve and Clementi Reserve in the City of Kwinana, have been particularly spectacular and have provided our volunteers with a beautiful backdrop to the day’s activities. Likewise, Baigup Wetlands and Maylands Samphires within the City of Bayswater, offered some great animal sightings. It’s the season where our reptiles start to wake up and we have seen dugites and bob tails sunning themselves on warm pathways. Waterbirds have also been in abundant display along the river. Seeing so many different species tells us that these sites are in healthy condition, which is great news for the Carnabys.
Recently, our team leader captured a great time-lapse video at one of our regular sites, Birdwood Parade Reserve, where our volunteers removed a whole box trailer full of weeds! Birdwood Parade Reserve in the City of Nedlands is adjacent to the Swan River and is part of the green corridor from Bold Park to Kings Park. Carnabys and other birds use the reserves between these two super roosts to forage for food, rest in trees and source drinking water. At this time of year, weeds can become a little overwhelming, so it’s important to remove the weeds early and provide the native plants room to breathe and grow again.
We would like to give our heartfelt thanks to our generous GlobalGiving donors and dedicated volunteers. Without your support, we wouldn’t be able to make a difference to this important cause. If you can donate again, or share our story with family and friends, we would really appreciate it – every effort helps us to continue achieving these great conservation results and give these beautiful birds a better chance at a Wild Future.
Conservation Volunteers Australia together with the community has been managing Brookfield Conservation Park in partnership with the Department of Environment Water and Natural Resources since 2008. Our work has included a strong focus on supporting conservation and research of the Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat, and we couldn’t have done it without your support.
We’re proud of the conservation and community outcomes achieved at the park over the past 8 years. We have welcomed more than 500 community members to engage in hands on conservation activities through the management of Brookfield. We’d like to thank you for your generosity, which has enabled regular wombat monitoring and research to be undertaken, pest plants and animals to be controlled, partnerships with adjacent land managers established and numerous schools and students educated about the values of Brookfield Conservation Park. Brookfield will now return to full-time management by the Department of Environment Water and Natural Resources.
Our focus now will shift to wombat programs in Tasmania, where we have already started on projects to help address the issues caused by wombat mange. An outbreak of mange in 2006 following a severe drought has resulted in a substantial reduction in wombat numbers in some areas.
In early 2017, we formed a partnership with the University of Tasmania (UTAS) and Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and the Environment (DPIPWE) to tackle the issue of mange in Tasmania’s wombat population. We are undertaking wombat surveys twice a year, at 7 key locations across the state, to help get a better understanding of mange prevalence at a population level. Surveys are carried out over 3 days and are done pre dusk and are repeated in the dark. Volunteers are also collecting samples of scats, which will be analysed to see if DNA has any impact on a wombat's susceptibility to contracting mange. The information obtained as part of this project will help determine best practice mange management across the state.
While we’re out monitoring, UTAS researches are carrying out safety trials on a new treatment method that is hoped to provide effective treatment for mange, for up to 3 months with a single dose. When the safety trials are complete, we will be getting teams of volunteers out on the ground to help treat mange affected wombats.
Thank you again for caring for Southern Hairy-nosed Wombats, and for helping us to achieve excellent results – we’re leaving Brookfield in safe care, and we hope you will join us on our next stage of wombat recovery with the charming Common Wombats (Vombatus ursinus tasmanicus) of Tasmania!