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