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Monitoring Eastern Barred Bandicoots after release
Research Project: Developing effective methods to monitor Eastern Barred Bandicoots after release
The mainland subspecies of the Eastern Barred Bandicoot (Perameles gunnii) is listed as Critically Endangered in Victoria and Endangered nationally. The current conservation strategy for this species includes the release of captive-bred individuals into predator-free areas.
Monitoring of bandicoots after release is a critical step in evaluating their survival and adaptation to the wild as well as the effectiveness of different re-introduction sites and methods.
It is currently very difficult to undertake intensive monitoring of this species after release because of the difficulty in attaching radio-transmitters for long periods.
Several methods of transmitter attachment have been trialled previously and all have had certain limitations. The current proposal will re-examine methods for attaching radio-transmitters to Eastern Barred Bandicoots now that there has been improvements in materials and knowledge.
To develop a successful method of attaching radio-transmitters to Eastern Barred Bandicoots for periods of at least six weeks in a manner that does not compromise their welfare.
A few different methods will be trialled including:
- small transmitters glued onto the animals (between the shoulder blades) using special veterinary glue
A number of bandicoots currently at Melbourne Zoo will be fitted with different transmitter types and will be monitored daily in their enclosures via night-vision cameras to assess their response. They will also be examined for changes in weight and any signs of discomfort or injury during this period.
Outcomes so far...
- Glue-on transmitters are currently being trialled with varying success (between 1 and 23 days before loss) but are likely to provide only a short-term monitoring solution
- Radio-collars and harnesses will be tested soon
Primary researcher: Dan Harley (Threatened Species Biologist, Zoos Victoria)
Participating organisations: Zoos Victoria; Eastern Barred Bandicoot Recovery Team