India: Phillip Island Nature Parks’ researchers marked the four year anniversary of the release of Eastern barred bandicoots (EBBs) onto Churchill Island during one of their regular visits to monitor the population of this endangered marsupial.
“The population continues to do well, with all adult females breeding, most with two or three large pouch young,” said Dr Duncan Sutherland, Deputy Research Director with Phillip Island Nature Parks.
“Over the three nights we spent on Churchill Island, we captured 71 unique individuals, which was slightly more than in March this year and similar to the numbers this time last year. 18 of the individuals captured were seen for the first time.”
During this visit, traps were also set in the adjacent area at Fishers Wetland on Phillip Island, to see what was happening with the bandicoots that have made their own way from Churchill Island. 25 unique individuals were captured in this location, all of which were captured for the first time.
“They showed a similar pattern of breeding to those on Churchill Island, which is an encouraging sign. This population is persisting and breeding, and distributing out from the initial release site as expected, despite being in the presence of feral cats.”
“We would expect the bandicoots to continue to slowly distribute across Phillip Island, so residents and visitors may well start seeing them at night when they are active, including near our roadways.”
“We share this island with a range of wonderful wildlife which now includes Eastern barred bandicoots, so as always it’s important that drivers observe speed limits, and drive to the conditions, especially at night when wildlife is most active.”
The releases of Eastern barred bandicoots onto Churchill Island in 2015 and the Summerland Peninsula in 2017 were part of a wider program aimed at saving them from extinction, and have been conducted in partnership with the EBB Recovery Team.
The EBB Recovery Team includes representatives from (in alphabetical order): 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.
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