The Eastern Barred Bandicoot will soon make a return to Western Victoria with the re-introduction of 20 adult animals to the Hamilton Community Parklands in mid-April.
Since European settlement, the Eastern Barred Bandicoot has undergone widespread and catastrophic population decline. The last wild population on mainland Australia survived in Hamilton. Due to continued decline of the population through predation by foxes and feral cats, the Eastern Barred Bandicoot was declared extinct in the wild from mainland Australia in 2013.
Formed in 1989, the Eastern Barred Bandicoot recovery team has reintroduced 1500 individuals into fox-free reintroduction sites and, thanks to a successful breeding program at Melbourne Zoo, are about to re-introduce a population of Eastern Barred Bandicoot at Hamilton.
Six of the 20 Eastern Barred Bandicoots destined for release will come from Mt Rothwell Biodiversity Interpretation Centre, six from Woodlands Historic Park and the remaining eight from the captive breeding program at Melbourne Zoo and Werribee Open Range Zoo.
Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) Senior Biodiversity Officer, Richard Hill said: "The recovery team has set a recovery target of a self-sustaining population of 2,500 Eastern Barred Bandicoots.
"The re-establishment of a population of between 100-200 adult Eastern Barred Bandicoots at Hamilton Parklands will be a test site for free-ranging outbred animals being produced in an Eastern Barred Bandicoot gene mixing project.
"We're excited to work with Conservation Volunteers Australia who have successfully co-managed the reintroduction of Eastern Barred Bandicoots into Woodlands Historic Park (near Melbourne) over the past 5 years.
"Once the Eastern Barred Bandicoots are reintroduced into Hamilton Community Parklands, Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA) will co-manage the fox and cat free site with DELWP as part of the recovery model.
"CVA have a proven track-record in doing this work and the Eastern Barred Bandicoot recovery team has experience managing predator-free sites."
The Eastern Barred Bandicoot recovery team includes members from Conservation Volunteers Australia, DELWP, Mt Rothwell Biodiversity Interpretation Centre, National Trust of Australia, Parks Victoria, Phillip Island Nature Parks, the University of Melbourne, Tiverton Property Partners and Zoos Victoria.
The Eastern Barred Bandicoot reintroduction site at Hamilton is part of a broad recovery program for the species and is funded by the Australian Government's National Landcare Program through the Glenelg Hopkins Catchment Management Authority.
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