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:
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.
Primary researcher: Amy Coetsee (Threatened Species Project Officer, Zoos Victoria)
Participating organisations: Zoos Victoria; Eastern Barred Bandicoot Recovery Team