In July 2013, Conservation Volunteers Australia, Parks Victoria, Zoos Victoria and the Eastern Barred Bandicoot (EBB) Recovery Team started a new population of EBBs at Woodlands Historic Park (next to Melbourne Airport) to help fight the extinction of this super cute Victorian.
We all work together to monitor the bandicoots throughout the year to look at survival, habitat use and breeding success of the population. We are currently conducting our winter survey. So, how do you monitor bandicoots?
One of our EBBs bred at Werribee Open Range Zoo
At Woodlands we have a huge grid with hundreds of sites where we try to catch our bandicoots. The traps have warm covers to keep out any wind and rain, warm fluffy bedding so the bandicoots can make a nest and we put in their favorite food – bait balls made with peanut butter, oats and honey!
One of our bandicoot traps at Woodlands
Once we catch an EBB we use a microchip reader to see who it is, we take their weight, give them a condition score and check their feet and long nails. If they are a new animal born in the wild, we give them a microchip (like in pet dogs and cats) and take a small amount of fur for a genetic sample, so we can monitor the diversity of the population. Sometimes our vets from Melbourne Zoo come with us to do further checks to ensure the population is healthy. The most exciting part is checking if females have babies in their pouch – we love to see new young born in the wild! After their check up we then let the bandicoots go back to their wild home.
Today we are setting all our traps – I’ll keep you updated over the next few days to let you know what we find!