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A safe haven for mammal on the brink

Date: 22-Oct-19
Author: Liam Taylor

The Eastern Barred Bandicoot is being given a new leash on life on predator-free islands close to Melbourne.

The Eastern Barred Bandicoot is being given a new leash on life on predator-free islands close to Melbourne.

After being driven to the brink of extinction on mainland Australia, one little native mammal is starting a new life on an island off the coast of Victoria.

The Eastern Barred Bandicoot was once widespread throughout southwest Victoria, but destruction of their habitat and introduced predators such as foxes and feral cats have devastated numbers in recent years. The situation became so dire that the bandicoot is now considered extinct in the wild. 

In an effort to rejuvenate populations of the critter, conservationists have released 55 bandicoots onto French Island, located in Western Port Bay south-east of Melbourne. Despite never having lived on the island, Zoos Victoria, the organisation leading the conservation initiative, hope the fox-free island will provide a safe zone for breeding and foraging.

“It’s been a long road to get to this stage, but to see the bandicoots racing into their new home has been an incredible result for all involved,” Zoos Victoria Threatened Species Biologist Dr Coetsee told 10daily.

“These French Island Eastern Barred Bandicoots, who have travelled by boat from four different locations across the state, now have the space to increase their population size and help save their species from extinction.”

Other conservation programs for the bandicoots implemented on Churchill Island and Phillip Island have proven the species can be successful in an island environment free of predators.


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Liam                                              Taylor
Author: Liam Taylor

Liam is Planet Ark's Communications Coordinator. Prior to joining Planet Ark Liam spent his time studying global environmental issues, travelling Southeast Asia on the cheap and working for a sustainable property management company in Bali, Indonesia.

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