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Help Protect Endangered Bandicoots

by Conservation Volunteers Australia
Help Protect Endangered Bandicoots
Help Protect Endangered Bandicoots
Help Protect Endangered Bandicoots
Help Protect Endangered Bandicoots
Help Protect Endangered Bandicoots
Help Protect Endangered Bandicoots
Help Protect Endangered Bandicoots
Help Protect Endangered 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

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


Volunteer with Bandicoot
Volunteer with Bandicoot

Summer updates for Eastern Barred Bandicoots at Woodlands Historic Park


Once again we were hoping for late spring and summer rain. Fortunately, we were off to a great start with around 65mm of rain falling over two days at the start of December. This was great soaking rain and we got an instant burst of grass growth.  

Unfortunately, over the two months since then there has only been around 20mm in total.  On top of this it was the hottest January on record with several days hitting 40 degrees and a day of 45 degrees.  This put a quick stop to the growth of the grasses but on a positive front the size and structure has remained.  Hopefully meaning there will still be some extra habitat for new nests to be made for the bandicoots.  

In other good news our bloom of summer grasshoppers arrived meaning there is plenty of food around above ground while it’s harder to dig for insects as the ground dries up.  This is part of summer in Australia and a natural element flora and fauna go through.  

The bandicoot is very clever and adaptable and will adjust its breeding rates, so a healthy population gets through this dry period. No physical trapping takes place over summer to make sure there are no health and heat stress issues for the wildlife.  But during spotlight monitoring bandicoots have still been seen across the entire enclosure.  Plenty of work to reduce weeds has taken place during the dry season and new rabbit control programs run during this period as well to reduce grazing pressure on the grasslands.

One of the major concerns for keeping small populations of fenced wildlife is fire.  That’s why there are several sites across Victoria to minimise the risk of a major catastrophe.  There have been plenty of bushfires around the state as per normal. Thankfully Woodlands Parks Victoria staff take great care to prepare the site before the fire season to massively reduce the risk of fire threat.  Once again we haven’t had any issues here.  

So, we will battle through this dry, hot and long summer.  Hopefully getting some late summer rain and moving onto a big breeding season starting in autumn.  

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


Grassland area
Grassland area
Bandicoot active through the day
Bandicoot active through the day
Woodlands Historic Park
Woodlands Historic Park
Eastern Barred Bandicoot
Eastern Barred Bandicoot

Spring monitoring at Woodlands Historic Park and Hamilton Community Parklands

Since our last monitoring events in autumn this year, we have been hoping for rain to help our grasslands come along. Thankfully, Hamilton Community Parklands has had some decent rain and the grasslands are in good condition. Unfortunately, Woodlands Historic Park had gone through a dry winter, as well as dry previous summer months. This meant monitoring still had to be done to see how our bandicoot population was fairing.

Woodlands Historic Park trapping took place during the month of October. Approximately 230 traps were set for four nights of surveying. This equates to 23 kilometres to be walked at first light every morning, all in less than four hours. A massive task. This is achieved by breaking the property into six teams to be able to process all the traps effectively. Zoos Victoria play a huge role in assisting the event by providing trained bandicoot handlers. Along with all the volunteers who help, the handlers enter the data gathered electronically, hand over processing gear, and clean and reset the traps.

Earlier in autumn we caught 45 bandicoots. The hope for this monitoring session was not to have the ant population decline during the dry period which would significantly affect their food supply. The good news is that a total of 50 bandicoots were processed. A positive increase from the previous season. 20 of these were cleanskins (never been caught before),32 male,18 female, and the females were carrying a total of 27 pouch young. This is exciting, as at our last event no pouch young were recorded.

The most positive outcome was that the bandicoots were in a healthy condition. The success of bandicoots breeding strongly depends on the quality of their habitat conditions. So, it was fantastic to see them healthy and having adapted so well to their current habitat. We are also very hopeful, that when the grassland habitat starts to restore itself, there should be an increase in their numbers. For now though they are doing well in this scenario. 

Hamilton's update will have to be in our next report, as they trap in mid-November. All the signs are looking good for a positive monitoring session. The habitat looks fantastic, so there is plenty of grass nesting sites and plenty of food for the bandicoots. In recent spotlighting events there have been great numbers recorded, of both adult and juvenile animals. Catching them however, is still a challenge.

Woodlands and Hamilton both have plenty of brush tail possums which get to the traps early, and they often set the traps off, getting caught in the process. But we are still hopeful to catch a good number of bandicoots to see how the population is progressing. During the winter there has also been plenty of upgrades done on the properties predator proof fence, weed control and habitat improvement.

So all in all, it has been a great start to the Spring monitoring season

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

Travis Scicchitano, Woodlands Project Officer

Eastern Barred Bandicoot
Eastern Barred Bandicoot

It’s been a year of challenges and positives in threatened species recovery at Woodlands Historic Park. The biggest challenge we currently face is the reduction in grasslands habitat at Woodlands, which has come from various fronts.  It has been a very dry year, especially in the last six months, where we’ve only had three decent rainfall events during that period.  This type of grassland is classified as summer growing, so without that extra rain the plants have stagnated.  On top of that, grazing pressure within the site has continued.  Without the rain the kangaroos, possums and rabbits have severely reduced the height of the grasses, which is the preferred nesting area of the bandicoot.

Ultimately this impacts the available habitat for bandicoots and causes a reduction in their numbers.  The Eastern Barred Bandicoot breeds to their conditions, only producing offspring when there is enough food and available nesting areas.  Thankfully we have plenty of food for the bandicoot, but without suitable grasslands, we have seen a population reduction.  This, however, is not seen as a negative as it shows they are naturally adapting to the environment.  On the positive side, during our last monitoring session the animals were all in good health and were caught from all areas across the entire site. As soon as we see an improvement in the habitat the bandicoots will react swiftly and increase their population.

To further assist with the health of the grasslands, our volunteers have been tackling a major weed onsite, the serrated tussock. This is an invasive grass species of significance in Victoria.  Our teams managed to spray over 100 hectares, which frees up space for the native grasses to grow.  They have also mapped and destroyed small rabbit warrens over the same area.  This mapping was then used to follow up with heavy machinery to destroy the larger warren systems, which has made a significant dent in the rabbit population.  Volunteers have also been busy continuing with our regular fence patrols and maintenance, revegetation, monitoring surveys, bait ball making and track maintenance.   

With the recent addition of Philip Island alongside our Woodlands and Hamilton locations, we are working for a common goal through the Eastern Barred Bandicoot Recovery Teams plans.  The goal is to have 2,500 bandicoots in total across all sites to secure genetic diversity for the species.  Currently we are half way towards our target with around 1,200 animals across all three sites.  There are more sites being constructed and we hope to achieve our goal by around 2020.  This will be a huge achievement as it will bring the bandicoot down from extinct in the wild to critically endangered. It doesn’t mean our job is done but achieves our first goal on this long road to recovery, and means we are heading in the right direction towards securing a future for the bandicoot.



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Conservation Volunteers Australia

Location: Mount Pleasant, Victoria - Australia
Project Leader:
Madeline Townsend
Mt Helen, Vic Australia
$7,274 raised of $25,000 goal
172 donations
$17,726 to go
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