With the unpredictable heat during the summer months (December to February) we’re unable to conduct full scale monitoring of the bandicoots. Instead, we use this period to concentrate on our grassland health and research programs.
Invasive weeds are a real threat to the grasslands at Woodlands Historical Park, and our volunteers have been very busy removing artichoke thistle. This invasive weed species takes up vital grassland space due to its huge seed load and potential to take over large areas very quickly by out competing the native grasses. Conservation Volunteers Australia’s Project Officer, Travis, reports: “It's a long battle starting in October and going through to January as the thistles spread their seeds in late January and February. It's a challenge in the heat cutting them back down to ground level and applying herbicide to remove them. They are also very prickly, so well done to everyone involved as the bandicoots will appreciate having more grass habitat to build nests in.”
After many nights researching new trap designs, we have chosen the trap for future Woodlands monitoring. A new trap design was needed due to the high rate of bycatch when monitoring bandicoots. Travis explains, “We catch a large number of brushtail possums as they are active earlier than the bandicoots and get to the traps first. Whilst we catch many, the possums are also known for setting off the traps, which limits our ability to capture bandicoots. The new design has a new door inserted into the trap with a smaller hole built in. This allows us to still remove the bandicoot for handling whilst reducing possum entry. Possums are very creative and can get into very tight spaces so we can't keep them all out, especially the smaller ones, but the new design will help. Overall it will hopefully give us a greater chance at targeting the bandicoots during the monitoring season.”
We currently run around 230 traps at Woodlands covering 23 kilometres, and each one of those traps will need to be replaced. This will be quite costly but a very important changeover, and your donations will make a huge difference. Thank you very much for your continued support as every dollar helps!
We look forward to breaking some more monitoring records and keeping you up-to-date with our progress throughout the year.
Volunteer removing artichoke thistle
Tube trap verses new small door trap
Bandicoot in the new small door trap design