We have just completed our spring monitoring in Hamilton, and once again the site is looking fantastic due to good winter and spring rainfall. Conservation Volunteers Australia’s Project Officer, Travis Scicchitano reports: “Our spotlighting produced numbers of more than 30 individuals in only an hour, which is a great indication that our bandicoots are thriving. The local community are invited to these events and it’s such a thrill to see them engaged and excited about their local marsupial recovery. All the animals passed their health checks easily and all the females had pouch young, ranging in size from little ‘jelly beans’ to fully furred critters. If they didn’t have babies they all had teats that showed signs of lactation, which means they were rearing babies nearby in the nest. It was an excellent result and no doubt our individual count has gone up significantly.”
Woodlands Historical Park monitoring took place in mid-October. Woodlands received under average rainfall this season that reduced the quality of the grassland habitat. Travis explains: “The Eastern Barred Bandicoot breeds to the conditions available so it has the ability to very quickly increase or decrease its breeding, making for a healthier population. Fortunately, we only witnessed a small drop in numbers during this round of monitoring. We also had veterinarians set up for this event to assist in health checks and a few blood tests (yes even bandicoots get blood tests!). The vets gave all the animals a clear bill of health – great news for the species!”
We are also very excited to announce that we now have a brand-new home for bandicoots at Phillip Island! Phillip Island is located 140 km (87 mi) south-southeast of Melbourne, Victoria, with an area of about 100 km2 (40 sq mi). This site is managed by Phillip Island Nature Parks who are part of the Eastern Barred Bandicoot recovery team. The Island is now fox free and has become the first island to assist in threatened species recovery. Check out the video from our friends at Zoos Victoria, documenting the largest release of Eastern Barred Bandicoots ever!
Even though it is not on the mainland of Australia, Phillip Island will provide invaluable numbers to assist in the overall recovery of the bandicoots. Woodlands played a pivotal role in this first release of bandicoots. There were 44 bandicoots released in total into the new site – 10 from Woodlands (5 male and 5 female), 11 from Zoos Victoria and 23 from Chrurchill Island, which is an offshoot to Phillip Island. Travis says, “we hope they all enjoy their new home and start breeding to increase the population. This event is also a significant showcase in how agencies can all come together to achieve an amazing result. Well done and thank you to the entire Easter Barred Bandicoot Recovery team.”
We’d like to say thank you to our very generous GlobalGiving donors again for your ongoing support. It has been an incredibly successful year, with significant steps made towards securing a future for the Eastern Barred Bandicoot. We look forward to updating you on our progress in 2018.
Released after health checks complete