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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
Bandicoots love the long grass!
Bandicoots love the long grass!

It’s been a busy summer at Woodlands Historic Park. The weather has thrown up a few challenges but our amazing volunteers have turned up in droves, even with very high temperatures of 40+ degrees!  Thanks to these volunteers, our Eastern Barred Bandicoot program has continued to kick goals and keep the habitat safe for our bandicoots. 

Conservation Volunteers Australia’s Project Officer, Travis Scicchitano, reports: “Countless fence patrols have stopped any major breaches on the fence.  Only recently one of our weekend teams discovered a large branch had fallen down on top of the perimeter fence.  They busily cut down the branch and reconstructed the fence back into its position and stopped any foxes getting a chance to make their way in.  A fantastic effort and without this continuous dedication, this program couldn’t survive.”

Since October no new animals have been released.  Travis says, “It’s time for them to breed on their own for a while - and I can assure you all they have been! Our last monitoring was done in the first week of December.  This monitoring week was aimed at trying to catch our first generation of bred and born bandicoots onsite.  These are called F1’s in science lingo!  The great news is that we caught two F1’s.  Both bandicoots were females and only weighing 170 grams, which is about the size of a small house mouse!  Tiny, but successfully out of the pouch and learning to become independent with mum by their side.  We also trapped mum and amazingly she had 3 new babies in her pouch about the size of a jelly bean!  This is very encouraging as it means the conditions and habitat are perfect for the bandicoots.  This year in April is when the next major trapping is planned and we should get a good indication on numbers - fingers crossed until then that they keep on breeding.”

Our volunteers have also been busily watering the grassland habitat they planted last year.  According to Travis, “These plants are coming along well with all the extra water over a dry Christmas period.  These plants should hopefully be at full size within a year and be ready for bandicoots to move in.”  Other program activities have been continuous weed removal throughout the reserve, giving our native grasses the best chance to flourish.

For the entire calendar year from January to December 2013, volunteers contributed 570 individual days to the project.  Travis comments, “This is an amazing effort – volunteers are making a huge difference. Once again, I would like to thank them all for putting in such a great effort and volunteering through all the tough conditions.”

Donations are making a significant difference as we can look to broaden our program, but we still have a long way to go. With further donations we hope to put in remote monitoring cameras, which we can use to record the bandicoots’ activity and numbers.  This would also enable us to stream our fury friends on the website for everyone to see. 

Thank you all very much for your support and kind donations - the bandicoots appreciate it and so do we! 

 

*Cover image courtesy of Richard Hill

Newborn Bandicoot with Travis
Newborn Bandicoot with Travis
Baby Eastern Barred Bandicoot
Baby Eastern Barred Bandicoot
Our Baby Grasses!
Our Baby Grasses!

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Endangered Eastern Barred Bandicoot
Endangered Eastern Barred Bandicoot

Conservation Volunteers Australia’s Project Officer, Travis Scicchitano, is continuing his work with volunteers from across Australia and around the world on the Eastern Barred Bandicoots project at Woodlands, just outside Melbourne.

Travis says, “We’ve had another busy year at Woodlands Historic Park and the Eastern Barred Bandicoot program has reached news heights! Countless days have been put into preparing the site by enhancing and upgrading the existing fence. Daily patrols around the 7 kilometre fence have been a priority as keeping the foxes out is now vital. Volunteers have achieved approximately 3,000kms of fence patrolling so far - this is the same distance from Melbourne to Cairns! Our volunteers have also removed around 100 hectares of noxious woody weeds, and 9,000 grasslands plants have been planted to create a brand new nest area for the bandicoots.”

Due to all of this hard work, Woodlands now has a total of 42 Eastern Barred Bandicoots calling it home. According to Travis, “The great news is that we have trapped 27 individuals since the first release period and their health is looking good. We’ve seen positive weight gain and retention and no major injuries except for the males who are fighting each other for breeding mates - this is a positive and natural injury! We are also finding evidence of the animals moving throughout the park setting up home, with the most positive sign being they have been very busy breeding! Nearly all females are carrying pouch young so in the next few months we hope to catch our first new animals bred here on site.”

Volunteers on the site have been delighted to see their efforts paying off.  Even though we can’t see the bandicoots during the day because they are nocturnal, there is plenty of evidence on the ground. Fresh digs can be seen where they have been busily looking for insects to eat. Over 400 volunteer days have been put into the project in the past year. Travis comments that the volunteers have done an outstanding job so far: “We would like to thank them immensely for their incredible enthusiasm, dedication and hard work.  Without their help, we would still be a long way off having bandicoots roaming free in the park – it’s a great result so far to have reached the breeding stage. With only around 400 bandicoots left in existence, things are really looking up as we hope to double the current population.”

We still need your support as ongoing fence upgrades are vital and many other aspects of this program continually present challenges.  But together we can make a difference and this animal will continue to re-establish itself back into the wild.

Our sincere thanks to you for supporting and donating to our Eastern Barred Bandicoot project so far. Your contribution ensures these important conservation efforts continue and that the Eastern Barred Bandicoot will have a Wild Future!

Fresh digs - I can see where u have been eating!
Fresh digs - I can see where u have been eating!
I want out after having my health check!
I want out after having my health check!
Planting important habitat at Woodlands
Planting important habitat at Woodlands

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Bandicoots love to hide in long grass!
Bandicoots love to hide in long grass!

Dear Eastern Barred Bandicoot supporter,

Firstly, a huge THANK YOU to everyone that has donated to our project so far.  Your donation has helped our project’s continuing success - and today we are delighted to bring you wonderful news about our newest milestone towards saving the Eastern Barred Bandicoot (or EBB for short) from extinction!

Our Eastern Barred Bandicoot Revival Program is moving ahead in bandicoot leaps and bounds!  As part of Conservation Volunteers Australia’s Wild Futures program, the Eastern Barred Bandicoot Revival Project has achieved an incredible milestone with the recent release of 32 of these critically endangered bandicoots into the newly protected and restored habitat.

Bandicoots are considered ‘Extinct on the Wild’ in Victoria, only existing through captive breeding programs at wildlife parks, zoos and protected habitats.  However, with breeding program success increasing, there was an urgent need for a larger, predator-proof habitat that bandicoots could breed and flourish in.  This recent release into this new native habitat is a fantastic step (or should we say hop?) forward towards Eastern Barred Bandicoot recovery and demonstrates the many hours of work our teams have done to ready the site.

EBB team members and volunteers have worked tirelessly since 2010 to install, repair and maintain 7 kilometres of predator proof fence around the new 300ha habitat, affectionately known as the ‘Back Paddock’ at Woodlands Historic Park near Melbourne, Victoria.  With the fence construction completed in late 2012 and ongoing maintenance and habitat enhancement progressing well, the area was also declared free of foxes and other predators.  It was time for our long-awaited residents to enjoy their new, natural surroundings.

In July we released the first bandicoots back into the site!  Bandicoot individuals were chosen from a variety of wildlife parks throughout Victoria to ensure diverse genetics for our new population.  Prior to release into the large habitat, the bandicoots were gradually adapted to life outdoors, including honing their skills in natural foraging and aerial predator avoidance, to better prepare them for life in the Great Outdoors at Woodlands Historic Park.

Post-release monitoring has shown that the individuals are settling in well and already vying with each other for mates.  This is a fantastic indication of good habitat, natural behaviours and a large natural space that they can roam around in.  Hopefully we will soon hear the pitter-patter of little bandicoot feet…

Our passionate EBB Project Officer, Travis Scicchitano is proud of the project’s newest achievement, “This is such a great example of how people can come together to help save a species.  The project combines volunteers donating their time to carry out these important conservation activities, with wonderful and generous financial support from donors from right across the globe.  No matter where you are in the world, you can help make a real difference to this remarkable species!”

Attention will now turn to maintaining the predator-proof fence and patrolling it daily to ensure that any breaches to the fence from burrowing animals are quickly repaired.  In addition, important habitat enhancement and monitoring work will also take place to provide more food and shelter and assess the health of these new marsupial residents.

Your donation will assist in making this all possible.  Together we can ensure that the Eastern Barred Bandicoot does indeed hop away from the threat of extinction and enjoy a Wild Future!

Volunteers check and maintain the important fence
Volunteers check and maintain the important fence
A final health check before release!
A final health check before release!
Travis releasing our newest bandicoot resident!
Travis releasing our newest bandicoot resident!

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Bright eyed Bandicoot ready for release!
Bright eyed Bandicoot ready for release!

Greetings from the Eastern Barred Bandicoot Revival Team!  Our Eastern Barred Bandicoot Recovery project is in full swing to help save this amazing species.  One of the most critically endangered marsupials in Victoria, habitat loss, agriculture, urban development, competition from introduced rabbits and the introduction of predator species such as foxes, cats and dogs have taken a huge toll on these bandicoot populations.

In order to save these amazing creatures from extinction, large areas of crucial habitat need to be protected and maintained to release captive animals.  Through the Wild Futures program, Conservation Volunteers is creating a bandicoot haven just 30 mins from Melbourne in Victoria where bandicoots will safely roam and breed, increasing and (hopefully!) doubling the small population size for the species.

Enclosing the Eastern Barred Bandicoot habitat – known affectionately as the ‘back paddock’, the all-important predator proof fence is tall to prevent cats and foxes climbing over.  With the finishing touches on the fence well underway, the Eastern Barred Bandicoot team are now turning their attention to ongoing border patrol and fence maintenance. Regular patrols and maintenance must be carried out on the fence to prevent breaches resulting from animals digging under, vandals from cutting the fence or branches falling onto it.  Patrolling the 7km perimeter takes a lot of time and effort.  In order to effectively monitor the fence, patrol teams use bicycles to get about in the most eco-efficient way.  More bicycles are needed for our patrol teams.

With the wetter weather approaching, important planting activities will also soon commence to provide the bandicoots with a good variety of food and shelter.

Your valuable donation will ensure that these important habitat enhancement and ongoing fence maintenance activities will continue, preparing this site for the upcoming release of bandicoots back into their natural habitat.  You can choose what you would like to support through set amounts for fencing materials, plants and tools or training – or pledge your own amount and know that you are actively assisting in bringing the bandicoot back from the brink of extinction! 

A huge thank you to those that have supported our Eastern Barred Bandicoot project so far – your contribution will ensure that these important conservation efforts continue and that the Eastern Barred Bandicoot will indeed have a Wild Future!

Volunteers maintaining the important fence
Volunteers maintaining the important fence
New habitat for Bandicoots!
New habitat for Bandicoots!

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Organization Information

Conservation Volunteers Australia

Location: Mount Pleasant, Victoria - Australia
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @CVAustralia
Project Leader:
Brett Atkins
Ballarat, Victoria Australia
$9,754 raised of $25,000 goal
 
207 donations
$15,246 to go
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