Endangered species spotted on coast

CCMA remote sensor camera captures an image of a Southern Brown Bandicoot between Anglesea and Aireys Inlet.

Sightings of the endangered Southern Brown Bandicoot have buoyed conservation volunteers after images of the species were caught on remote sensor cameras between Anglesea and Aireys Inlet in recent months.

Environmental volunteers from the Friends of Eastern Otways group sighted a Southern Brown Bandicoot in June this year.

Volunteer Kaye Traynor said volunteers observed the rare species, which breed between June and December, during daylight hours in the Moggs Creek heathlands.

In a bid to protect and improve coastal biodiversity,  the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority (CMA) has been using remote motion sensor cameras to monitor what species are using coastal habitats in the region.

The cameras – set up at sites in Anglesea and Aireys Inlet – were successful in capturing images of the species on two occasions about three months ago.

Corangamite CMA Biodiversity Manager Nick McCristal said “the cameras are moved through a range of biodiversity projects throughout the CMA region and capture a variety of species.”

Mr. McCristal said the use of remote sensing cameras was a relatively recent addition to the program, as the technology has become less expensive and more reliable.

“The cameras are placed in locations that we believe animals will utilise, such as pathways and water holes and are activated by a motion sensor as fauna moves past,” he said.

Ms Traynor said protection of habitat was very important as well as keeping pets, especially cats and dogs under control.

“Fox predation is also a serious problem,” she said.

Southern Brown Bandicoots are listed as nationally endangered under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

What does the Southern Brown Bandicoot look like?

  • The southern brown bandicoot is a medium sized marsupial about the same size as a small rabbit
  • Has pointed snout, small eyes, rounded ears, compact body, large rump and a thinly furred short, thin tail approximately half of the body length.
  • Fur is coarse, greyish or yellowish brown above with a whitish belly

The DSE factsheet has included a  detailed description on the Southern Brown Bandicoot.

For more information visit the Australian Government website.

Threats to the survival of bandicoots:

The major current threats to bandicoots are predation, primarily by foxes but also by dogs and cats, and loss of habitat by clearing of vegetation which removes patches where they can live and limits their capacity to move between remaining patches.

What the community can do to protect the endangered species:

The Department of Sustainability and Environment said on their fact sheet there are a number of things the community can do including:

  • Controlling foxes on your property
  • Creating new habitat or improving remaining patches by planting appropriate indigenous understory species
  • Considering staged weed removal and replacing weeds with appropriate native plants
  • Linking patches of habitat with corridors
  • Keeping cats and dogs under control at all times

If you are interested in joining a volunteer group to protect the endangered species then visit Great Ocean Road Coast Committee’s (GORCC) volunteer group and opportunities page.

For information on what is involved with coastal volunteering visit GORCC’s volunteer page.

For further information on how to protect our flora and fauna visit DSE, Greening Australia , or Trust for Nature.

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