Zoo News

Zoo News - Volume 40, March 2020

Issue link: https://www.e-digitaleditions.com/i/1229682

Contents of this Issue


Page 9 of 23

1 0 COMMUNITY together The Eastern Barred Bandicoot is enjoying new-found fandom and a fresh start. WORDS Jo Stewart   PHOTOGRAPHY Will Watt BANDING or an animal that prefers to lead a solitary life, the Eastern Barred Bandicoot has plenty of friends. Due to the decline in numbers of this small marsupial throughout Victoria, the species is now listed as extinct in the wild on mainland Australia. Realising the importance of what's at stake, the Zoos Victoria team, key partners and an island community have banded together to give the species a much-needed helping hand to recover. "Since European settlement, over 99 per cent of their habitat has been destroyed," explains Dr Amy Coetsee, Threatened Species Biologist at Zoos Victoria. "Despite this, foxes are actually their number-one threat. Eastern Barred Bandicoots can't cope with any level of fox predation. One fox is a fox too many." With this in mind, releases onto fox-free islands, along with a captive breeding program and an investment in fenced, introduced predator-free ecosystems such as Mt Rothwell Biodiversity Interpretation Centre, are key to the recovery of the species. The Zoos Victoria Wildlife Conservation and Science team recently celebrated a significant milestone in their efforts to save the Eastern Barred Bandicoot from extinction. In October 2019, 74 bandicoots from Churchill Island, Hamilton and the captive breeding program were released onto French Island with the help of the local community. Located in Western Port Bay, French Island joins Churchill Island and Phillip Island in being one of three islands where Eastern Barred Bandicoots have been released. Zoos Victoria has managed the captive breeding program since 1991. The primary purpose of the program is to safeguard the future of the species by holding an insurance population in The Eastern Barred Bandicoot Recovery Team has members from Conservation Volunteers Australia, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), Mt Rothwell Biodiversity Interpretation Centre, National Trust of Australia, Parks Victoria, Phillip Island Nature Parks, the University of Melbourne, Tiverton Property Partnering and Zoos Victoria. CONSERVATION "Eastern Barred Bandicoots can't cope with any level of fox predation. One fox is a fox too many." F Bandicoot facts • Eastern Barred Bandicoots aren't fussy eaters. Their omnivorous diet includes some plant matter, worms and beetles. Dr Amy Coetsee reports that the released population on Churchill Island even eat small crabs. • Large numbers of Eastern Barred Bandicoots once lived across Victoria's basalt plains. Without captive breeding programs, this unique species would be lost forever.

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Zoo News - Zoo News - Volume 40, March 2020