Animals
 Australia
Project #13209

Help Protect Endangered Bandicoots

by Conservation Volunteers Australia
Vetted
Eastern Barred Bandi-cute!
Eastern Barred Bandi-cute!

Spring has seen our second monitoring round completed at both Woodlands Historic Park and Hamilton Community Parklands, with some outstanding results.

We completed seven days of trapping (and releasing!) on both sites, with a total of 1,280 traps checked, 2,000 bait balls made to attract the bandicoots and 110 kilometres walked very early in the morning in search of our furry friends.  It’s been a huge undertaking but the results have made it more than worthwhile – records were broken everywhere! 

Firstly to our Woodlands results.  Thankfully with the warmer weather our grass habitat has started to return after the wet winter.  This has proved vital for the bandicoot’s breeding conditions, which showed in the overall numbers.  Project Officer, Travis, reports Our previous record was 114 individuals caught, and amazingly we surpassed that with 132 individuals found!  We also found that 65 of those individuals were new born and bred on site, and had never been caught before.  This shows a great new breeding cycle has taken place, and a new influx of juvenile animals are on the ground to take the breeding and population growth even further over the next few years.  Out of all the females caught 94% showed signs of breeding, including 93 pouch young. It looks like there will be plenty of summer babies this year.  We hope they all do well and look forward to monitoring them next autumn. Check out this short video of a volunteer releasing a bandicoot after its health check.

Hamilton has also produced fantastic results. Earlier this year 20 bandicoots were released on site to start off the program.  Monitoring such low numbers can be like finding a needle in a haystack, however, we managed to capture 15 individuals from the original release. Travis says “This is wonderful news as it shows that Hamilton is in perfect condition for both habitat and food sources for the bandicoots.  All the animals processed were in good health and they are being found all over the site.  We are also now very proud parents in Hamilton with five new bandicoot babies born and bred on site. As per Woodlands, all the females we caught had pouch young so the population is well on the way to expanding and boosting the overall total of bandicoots in Victoria.

With these excellent results, it really has been a great end to the monitoring year.  There have been many challenges throughout the year, but with the generous support from donors and the invaluable assistance from volunteers, these resilient, wonderful, creatures can be brought back from the brink of extinction!

Once again thank you to everyone involved from, our dedicated volunteers, our very generous GlobalGiving donors, Parks Victoria and all members of the Eastern Barred Bandicoot Recovery Team who have assisted with making this possible. We look forward to keeping you up-to-date on our bandicoot friends in 2017!

Weight checks - nice and healthy!
Weight checks - nice and healthy!
Health checks finished - time to go home
Health checks finished - time to go home

Links:

Simple yet effective Bandicoot shelter/safety home
Simple yet effective Bandicoot shelter/safety home

Dear Friends in Bandicoot Recovery and Conservation,

It’s winter in Melbourne which means a very active couple of months for our Eastern Barred Bandicoots at the Woodlands site.  Even though they can breed all year round, this is the time when they produce the most offspring.  This is due to the ground becoming softer due to the rains, meaning easier foraging for insects in the ground to eat.  So there are signs all over the enclosure of hungry Bandicoots, with little cone-shaped holes where they have been eating.  Hopefully with full bellies it will increase their breeding, as there is more than enough food for the Bandicoot mums to rear their offspring. 

 

Even though we have had some good rainfall events, the long hot and dry summer has stunted some of the normal grass growth.  Due to this we have built and trialled some temporary shelter boxes just in case they need some extra protection while the grass is a little shorter.  The shelters are based on the same size as our monitoring traps as we know they enter that particular shape and size.  They are open on the bottom so they can still dig a small nest and bring in the grass material.  They also have two offset doors which reduces the effect of a wind tunnel, giving them multiple options of building a nest inside and offering great weather protection.  The two doors are also to make the Bandicoot feel comfortable by allowing two exits if they feel threatened.  Check out the photo as well as the video of Bandicoots trying on their new temporary homes for size.  You will also notice that many other animals have checked out the new real estate.  Thankfully the possums only had an inspection and went back to their normal habitat of hiding in trees, and I think the shelter is a little too small for a Kangaroo!

 

After our great news of collecting six Bandicoots and transferring them to help start Hamilton’s new population, we have been at it again at Woodlands.  This time we have collected 14 Bandicoots to move to the Zoos Victoria’s breeding program.  This was done to keep genetic diversity within the captive breeding program.  Animals are taken from various locations, and this time it was our turn.  Hopefully the Woodlands genetics will be making their way through to help the recovery of species.          

 

Let’s hope for some more rain before the spring arrives, and a bumper breeding season here at Woodlands.  Your generous donations continue to make all this research possible, and allow us to construct shelters that work by being able to watch them on the infrared cameras.  

 

Once again, a huge thank you to everyone involved from Conservation Volunteers Australia, Parks Victoria, our volunteers and all members of the Eastern Barred Bandicoot Recovery Team who are helping to make this project possible. Your support for Conservation Volunteers Australia and the Eastern Barred Bandicoot recovery project is very much appreciated and with your help, we will continue to achieve great conservation outcomes.

Fits a Bandicoot - just right!
Fits a Bandicoot - just right!
Normal grass shelter leaves Bandicoot
Normal grass shelter leaves Bandicoot's vunerable

Links:

Time for a Health Check! Photo: David Paul
Time for a Health Check! Photo: David Paul

Welcome to our latest report,

The long hot and dry summer in Victoria continued well into autumn, with above average temperatures and hardly any rain.  Our last update saw us looking forward to our monitoring session in April, eager to collect data on the effect of the hot and dry conditions on our Eastern Barred Bandicoot population.  It's with great joy, I can share with you all now, that the tough critters did exceptionally well. 101 individual Bandicoots were caught, and all received perfect health check reports, showcasing that the Woodlands site is perfect for the Bandicoots.

This update for supporters of the Bandicoots is already great, but it is about to get more exciting.  Due to the successful model of Bandicoot recovery at Woodlands, Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA) was asked to take over the management of the original Bandicoot release site in Hamilton, Western Victoria.  The site, to be suitable to meet the requirements to successfuly house Bandicoots needed to go through a restructure, needing fence repairs and fox control to be undertaken.  The local Hamilton CVA staff took on the challenge, and within seven short months had made the essential fence repairs and removed four foxes.  This is an amazing achievement on its own, but the story gets better.  Once proving there were no foxes on site over a two month period, it was time to release Bandicoots back on site.  The release of healthy Bandicoots is also a milestone achievement for Woodlands, as we were allowed to finally relocate animals to help other sites.  This is only allowed once a population has become stable and self sufficient.  So, in April, twenty Bandicoots were released: six animals from Woodlands, six animals from Mount Rothwell and eight from Zoos Victoria's breeding program.  Each Bandicoot was carefully selected and prepared for their historical journey - to re-establish a presence and population in Hamilton.  An inspiring effort by, all and a new chapter in bringing Bandicoot's back from extinction in the wild. Watch a video of the release now.

In late May, we implemented our first post release monitoring in Hamilton.  With only twenty animals to try and catch in 110 hectares  - the odds were slim.  Catching two or three would have been a good result - so you can imagine we were over the moon with joy when we processed nine individuals, seven males and two females, all in good health and setting up their new homes.  As an extra bonus, one of the females revealed two babies in her pouch, which were conceived on site.  So we are proud parents for the first time, and very shortly these pouch young will be out and about in the real world, at Hamilton. 

It is without a doubt, that the past few months have been rather frantic - with positive activity, so kindly enabled through your kind donations.  A special thanks to you - our supporters through Global Giving, as well as the Hamilton CVA staff, the wonderful local volunteers who are assisting us all the way with this program, Parks Victoria and the Eastern Barred Bandicoot Recovery Team who help make this possible. The remote cameras are playing a huge role in Hamilton, reporting the movements of the Bandicoots, which already reveal that they are enjoying exploring the whole site.  This knowledge supports the suitability of the site habitat, and ensures plenty of future breeding will occur as they look to establish nest areas.  

Bandicoot recovery has reached a new milestone, but there is still much for us to achieve to truely reverse the status of being extinct in the wild.  Please show your support again for this project appeal through a kind donation.  Why not take advantage of the special GlobalGiving Bonus Day on June 15 - where an amazing 50% of your kind donation (up to $1,000) being matched.  So please consider our Eastern Barred Bandicoots this winter and donate on June 15.  Please put a reminder in your phone or calendar today and share this story with your friends and work mates!

Yours in conservation,

Hmm.. been looking after your teeth? Photo D. Paul
Hmm.. been looking after your teeth? Photo D. Paul
Finished - See you later! Photo: David Paul
Finished - See you later! Photo: David Paul
Feet...Good too!  Photo: David Paul
Feet...Good too! Photo: David Paul
Met the Eastern Barred Bandicoot Team!
Met the Eastern Barred Bandicoot Team!

Links:

Volunteers maintaining the Park
Volunteers maintaining the Park's perimeter fence

Welcome our Friends in Conservation,

Our little Eastern Barred Bandicoots have endured a long, hot and very dry summer, including the hottest February on record for Melbourne.  The consistent heat has caused some natural dieback in some of our grasslands, but our little bandicoots have managed to forage through this issue.  Our next monitoring event will occur in the middle April, and will give us a better idea how the dry summer has affected them, especially their breeding.  In the meantime, we have conducted several spotlighting sessions, and made use of our cameras.  These programs have shown good signs of bandicoots, but we are looking forward to April (and hopefully a bit of rain) to get a thorough count onsite.

During the middle of January, our perimeter fence sustained a breach and a fox gained access to the confines of the Bandicoot sanctuary.  Action was immediately taken and free feeds set upon sand pads was implemented, allowing us to see foot prints and scats.  We also implemented our infrared cameras to add to our surveillance of the area.  We were able to confirm the presence of a fox after seven days, and closed the park to the public and embarked on removing the fox from the enclosure.  After five days we caught and removed the predator.  Project Officer, Travis Scicchitano, said “We are extremely happy that we were able to minimise the presence of the fox in the park to under two weeks, a fantastic turnaround that would not have been possible without donations that allowed us to purchase the cameras.   The cameras played a starring role in figuring out the foxes movements.  Knowing which sand pads it was feeding from, what time of the night it liked to move around and narrowing down its habitat zone.  So rather than searching 280 hectares we concentrated on 20 hectares.”

Woodlands Historic Park has been established on land once used to grow food products for Melbourne in the early 1840’s.  It still has one homestead in original condition, and two now in ruins.  Many old farm fences for holding livestock still remain, as well as, water dams in old creek lines.  During this very hot summer at least two of the dams held water after small rainfall periods.  This short video shows a swamp wallaby coming down for a drink.  I check the dams regularly for foot prints in the wet mud.  This cute little wallaby was still quite happy to have a drink even though I was only ten metres away.  Even though bandicoots get most of their water from their diet of insects, I’m sure a few popped down for a drink as well, during the heat filled days.

So bring on Spring and hopefully some rain and cooler weather for everyone to enjoy, and for our program to keep bringing the bandicoot back from extinction.  I look forward to bringing you the news from our next count in my next report.

Once again, thank you to everyone involved in our Eastern Barred Bandicoot program, including members of the Eastern Barred Bandicoot Recovery Team, our valuable volunteers, and especially our kind Global Giving donors who make our activities at the Park possible.  Please consider giving again to our program as we look at rejuvenating our perimeter fence, to ensure breaches don’t occur in the future.  

Newborn Bandicoot with Travis, Project Officer
Newborn Bandicoot with Travis, Project Officer
Adult Eastern Barred Bandicoot in sparse grassland
Adult Eastern Barred Bandicoot in sparse grassland
Beautiful twilight image of part of our fenceline
Beautiful twilight image of part of our fenceline

Links:

One of our Eastern Barred Bandicoot
One of our Eastern Barred Bandicoot 'cleanskins'.

Welcome Friends in Conservation,

 

This report starts on a different note – click here to view some interesting footage taken while I was on my morning patrol of the fence enclosing our precious bandicoots.  It’s that time of the year again when male Eastern Grey Kangaroos will fight for breeding rights within their mob – and as you can see in the video, it’s quite a battle.  I was going about my business trying to do a morning patrol around the fence perimeter, but these two boys were not interested in my schedule, and I had to wait until the battle was over to continue my patrol.  We always talk about kangaroos in our safety assessment before we can start any work, ...you can now understand why!  These two were around six foot tall and can certainly pack a punch and a mighty kick!  So I was more than happy to wait for them to go about their business!

Now back to our bandicoots.  We have just completed our spring monitoring for this year, and with the daylight hours increasing since the September equinox, the bandicoots have lost precious darkness (approx. 2-3 hrs) in which to forage, making it harder for them to be trapped. This time last year we recorded 57 individuals. This year we were hoping to record around 80 individuals – so I am very happy to share the positive news of recording 110 individuals on site this Spring. It has been a dry winter with low rainfall, so there was some concern we wouldn’t achieve these results, as the grasslands have reduced more than expected.  But the Eastern Bared Bandicoot is very adaptive - as proven by these amazing numbers, passing of all their health checks and consistent overall great body condition.

These ‘hot of the press’ results also revealed a very healthy female population with more females being caught than in our past two sessions combined.  Twelve of the female Eastern Barred Bandicoot’s caught revealed a total of 23 pouch young, and another 24 showed signs of recent pouch evacuation, meaning many new young are independently exploring life in Woodlands.  We are proud to report that 50 ‘cleanskins’ were caught, all of which have been bred and born on site at Woodlands.  The recent purchase of new microchip supplies has already been depleted – being put to good use in chipping our cleanskins.  The new scanner is already being used, efficiently extracting new data and enabling us to extract vital research information promptly.  The new microchips and scanner have only been made possible through the generous donations that we have received from our committed and loyal donors (click here to see the release of a newly chipped Eastern Bared Bandicoot).

Conservation Volunteers Australia’s innovative Eastern Bared Bandicoot program will continue through the busy summer months ahead.  With the dryer than normal winter and spring in Victoria, and a hot summer ahead – maintaining the grasslands will become essential in ensuring the bandicoots can continue to thrive in a ‘perfect’ habitat.  This maintenance of the grasslands will undoubtedly impact on the results of our next monitoring session in April 2016.

Please enjoy these results, but we still have a way to go before reaching ‘full capacity’ in our Eastern Barred Bandicoot number at Woodlands.  We are certainly tracking and continuing to grow in the right direction, all due to your commitment to bringing the Eastern Bared Bandicoot back from extinction. 

Once again – thank you to everyone who helps to make this program successful, including our valuable volunteers, members of the Eastern Bared Bandicoot Recovery Team, everyone involved from Conservation Volunteers Australia and Parks Victoria, but most especially our generous donors who make the program sustainable.

Travis Scicchitano, Woodlands Project Officer. 

Part of our new microchip supply.  Thanks!
Part of our new microchip supply. Thanks!

Links:

 

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Organization Information

Conservation Volunteers Australia

Location: Mount Pleasant, Victoria - Australia
Website: http:/​/​www.conservationvolunteers.com.au
Project Leader:
Madeline Townsend
Mt Helen, Vic Australia
$3,935 raised of $25,000 goal
 
98 donations
$21,065 to go
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