The mainland subspecies of Eastern Barred Bandicoot, Perameles gunnii, is now considered extinct in the wild. They are listed as endangered federally.
Bandicoots were once widespread across grasslands and grassy woodlands of western Victoria and South Australia. By 1991, the subspecies was on the brink of extinction, primarily due to habitat loss and predation by introduced foxes and cats.
A captive breeding program was established using Eastern Barred Bandicoots from the last known population at Hamilton. Since then, a coordinated Recovery Program has focused on captive breeding, habitat management and predator control. There are currently three small reintroduced populations of Eastern Barred Bandicoots.
Zoos Victoria coordinates the captive breeding program and so plays a key role in the recovery of this species through:
A 3.7 hectare soft-release enclosure (i.e. a large protected, predator-proof enclosure containing natural habitat) at Werribee Open Range Zoo enables Zoo visitors to connect with Eastern Barred Bandicoots and their basalt plains environment.
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