Planet

How Victoria’s Eastern Barred Bandicoot Population Has Recovered From The Brink Of Extinction

By Ben Tyers
19th May 2020

Turning on the TV, or hitting up social media lately has been risky if you want a bit of good news to sink into your brain. Thankfully, we've got some right here.

The Eastern Barred Bandicoot is a rabbit-sized marsupial that's native to both Victoria and Tasmania, but unfortunately became extinct in the Victorian wild more than 30 years ago due to habitat loss and predators like foxes.

After introducing 67 Eastern Barred Bandicoots to Phillip Island in 2017, that population has grown to more than 300, and is the first time a species declared extinct in the wild has had its decline successfully reversed.

“This is a wonderful achievement and I thank everyone involved for giving this precious little Victorian a fighting chance at long term survival.”

“With the devastating bushfires in January, it’s been a tough year for our native wildlife but this program is showing how hard work and perseverance can really make a difference.”

“This is a huge step forward in securing this species from extinction and another example of the conservation work that continues behind the scenes while our favourite attractions remain closed.” said Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D ’Ambrosio.

The introduction of the bandicoot to Phillip Island started after the island was declared fox free, and data from microchips has shown that the bandicoots have spread more than four kilometres from the location they were initially introduced.

The success of the program is so significant the findings are now being assessed by scientists and may soon result in a downgrading of the species threat status from critically endangered.

Other release sites in Victoria include Churchill Island, where a population has grown from 20 to 130, and French Island which is now home to 500 bandicoots.

For more great stories on our planet, and the people doing good, hit up our Sustainability section.

Image credit: Visit Victoria

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