21 December 2012

Five Eastern Barred Bandicoots are the first inhabitants of a new predator-proof enclosure at Werribee Open Range Zoo.
Three female and two male bandicoots were released into the zoo’s new 4ha native grassland precinct, Australian Journey last night.

Minister for the Environment, Ryan Smith, and son Brodie assisted zoo staff with the sunset release of these endangered nocturnal creatures.

Mr Smith said the creation of this new ‘soft-release’ native grassland habitat at the zoo was another important milestone in Zoos Victoria’s fight to save the Eastern Barred Bandicoot.

Zoos Victoria established a captive breed program from the last known population at Hamilton in 1991 and has now bred 600 animals. Since then a coordinated Recovery Program has focused on captive breeding, habitat management and predator control.

Zoo Director Sally Lewis said restoring the native grassland habitat, which the bandicoots need for survival, has been a top priority for the zoo.

“The Australian Journey precinct is the first of many predator-proof native grassland areas the zoo is creating to ensure this amazing creature survives into the future. Importantly, these native havens will also enable us to inspire our many visitors to also take action.” Ms Lewis said. 

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