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Melbourne park helps endangered eastern barred bandicoot to thrive

Melbourne park helps endangered eastern barred bandicoot to thrive
November 10, 2015

Conservationists who have been striving to establish a new colony of one of Victoria's most endangered animals for decades have been able to report a notable success with a colony of eastern barred bandicoots thriving in a Melbourne park.

The endangered bandicoot is making its comeback in a 300 hectare area of protected predator-free habitat next door to Melbourne Airport.

The Woodlands Historic Park is one of just a few sanctuaries for the animal, but with a recent count showing that bandicoots are thriving, conservationists are now hoping to set up more colonies to help bring the animal back from the brink.

Wildlife ecologist from RMIT University, Peter Homan, said fenced-off areas were the bandicoot's only hope.

Homan told the ABC "the wild population was extinct really a couple of decades ago and the only way to recover the species was to fence off areas with fox-proof and cat-proof fences.”

Eastern barred bandicoots were released in the park in the 1990s but the area was overrun by kangaroos and became a feeding ground for foxes.

As a result, the park’s fence was upgraded two years ago.

Travis Scicchitano from Conservation Volunteers Australia said the new colony was slowly getting stronger, adding “this site at Woodlands should hold around 500 bandicoots once it's at capacity.

"So we can't wait for that. That's maybe two years away."

Scicchitano and a small group of volunteers have been trapping and releasing the bandicoots this week, to check on the strength of the colony.

Among those counted was a female with a joey in her pouch.

Loss of grassland habitat and the threat of foxes and feral cats has contributed to the decline in bandicoot numbers.

However, if they can continue to thrive at Woodlands Historic Park, more colonies could be established across Victoria.

Homan is hoping that happens, adding “there's some other properties in western Victoria apparently being acquired that will be fenced off as well.

"So with a number of large areas fenced off the population should do really well."

23rd Octobe 2015 - ISLAND ARK FOR ENDANGERED BANDICOOTS

8th October 2015 - GIANT PANDAS AND LITTLE PENGUINS COMBINE FOR CONSERVATION

20th August 2014 - FEDERAL GOVERNMENT APPOINTS COMMISSIONER FOR THREATENED SPECIES

2nd July 2014 - WERRIBEE OPEN RANGE ZOO OPENS BANDICOOT HIDEOUT


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