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Bandicoot monitoring- days 5 and 6 (203 views)

Amy-EBB-release_360x280Photo: Amy Coetsee

After a successful first round of Eastern Barred Bandicoot (EBB) monitoring in early August, our team from Conservation Volunteers Australia, Parks Victoria and Zoos Victoria were back out for round 2 at our newest EBB release site- Woodlands Historic Park. This is a critical site for us to fight extinction for this amazing species.

We had a big day setting up the traps with warm fluff, the bandicoot’s favourite bait food (peanut butter, rolled oats and honey) and new canvas covers to make sure our animals felt warm and secure.

Wheres-Bandy_360x280An EBB in the grass at Woodlands –what great camouflage!

We came back at dawn to see who we had found and…. it was a record! We caught 23 EBB’s, and 7 were new animals we had not seen before! Like last time, almost all of our females had young in their pouches (or they had elongated teats which suggests that young had just left the pouch). We were especially excited to see a female with four young in her pouch. Bandicoots generally have 2-3 young per litter and four young is very rare!

EBB-pouchyoung_360x280A pouch with 4 new babies – bandi-cute!

Unfortunately, we did find one male with an injured tail, so he came back for treatment with our Veterinary Team at Melbourne Zoo. I don’t know anyone who knows more about bandicoot health and treatments than our Vets so we are confident he is getting the best care for his sore tail and he will hopefully be released back to Woodlands soon. Everyone else were released after their check up back to their grassland homes.

Marrissa-ebb_360x280This is me releasing one of our bandicoots – what a great feeling!

Lifecycle of a maggoty fish (633 views)

Here at Healesville Sanctuary, not much gets wasted. A single fish can provide both food and enrichment for several species over the course of a week (although not many people would want to get too close to it by the end).

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Day 1 – Keeper Jess has a fresh fish carcass and knows who would love it- Wylie the Water rat goes straight for the eye balls. Yum! That’s enough food for him for 2 days! Now we just needed to let our fish get a bit more smelly before going to the next eager recipient.

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monika-fish_360x280Day 3 – Tasmanian Devil keeper, Monica, with the fish that has gone rotten. She left it outside for a few hours and it is now covered in maggots.

scent-marking_360x280Day 3 – Tasmanian Devil, Lucifer, scent marking his maggoty new fish. He is so excited

devil-fish_360x280 Lucifer taking his fish away to hide from everyone else. He got very protective of it when any keeper got too close.

After 5 days there was nothing left to find of the maggoty fish carcass… Well if you got too close to Lucifer you’d still get a sensory reminder… Smells like enrichment!

Oh by the way- you may not want to try this with your fishy leftovers at home :)

Bandicoot monitoring- day 4 (747 views)

EBB-monitor_360x280

Our final day for our winter monitoring of Eastern Barred Bandicoots (EBBs) at Woodlands Historic Park and we are still finding great numbers of healthy bandicoots (and Possums).

Today our teams caught 10 EBBs and 6 of them were new animals born in the reserve! That gives us a total of 36 for this round of monitoring (including 14 new animals born in the wild!). Each of the females we caught also had young, with a total of 27 new babies counted in their mothers’ pouches! We also found lots of bandicoot diggings across the park, which is also good to see. It shows they are moving throughout their new home and foraging for their favourite foods including worms, other invertebrates, roots and tubers.

Woodlands_360x280Perfect bandicoot habitat – a mix of grasslands and woodlands

Our partners in Conservation Volunteers Australia and Parks Victoria, and all our Zoo staff, are very pleased with how the new population is growing and how healthy all the Bandicoots look. We look forward to seeing them all again soon!

EBB-release2_360x280Bye bandicoots! See you next time!

Bandicoot monitoring- day 3 (1088 views)

Another successful day! Today the teams caught 10 Bandicoots and 3 of them were new! Females again had beautiful new babies in their pouches. Great results for our population!

ebb-pouchyoung_360x280

When we trap at Woodlands, Eastern Barred Bandicoots are not the only ones who love our bait food. We often catch Brushtail Possums too!  The Possums sometimes don’t want to leave their warm traps – they know there is food in there after all.

trapped-brushy_360x280‘Do I have to get up? It is warm in here.’

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‘I don’t want to leave – just give me more food!’

brushy-release_360x280‘Fine… I’ll go – but I’ll be back!’

brushy-climb_360x280A Possum heads back home

Bandicoot monitoring- Day 2 (1330 views)

Today we had teams of Eastern Barred Bandicoot (EBB) researchers from Conservation Volunteers Australia, Parks Victoria and Zoos Victoria working across the park to see who was in our traps and monitor our bandicoot population. We were hoping to see our older EBBs and also find some new youngsters born in the wild. If there are new bandicoots found, they could be the fourth generation born at this site – we could be great great grandparents!

EBB-release_360x280An EBB released after a quick check up

Success! It was frosty as the sun rose over Woodlands, but all of the animals were warm in their fluffy beds. We were very excited to find 16 EBBs and 5 of them were new animals born in the wild! All of them were in excellent condition with some of the males over 900 grams – that is big for a bandicoot! Even better, we found one of our females that was released last year with 3 new young in her pouch!

ebb-pouchyoung_360x280Baby EBBs in mum’s pouch (Photo: Deb Dyson)

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s results!

Eastern Barred Bandicoot monitoring (1620 views)

EBB3-release-feed

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?

EBB-in-hand_360x280One 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!

EBB-trap_360x280One 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.

EBB_about_to_be_released_feed

Today we are setting all our traps – I’ll keep you updated over the next few days to let you know what we find!

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