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