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Island Ark for Eastern Barred Bandicoots

17 August 2015

Sixteen Eastern Barred Bandicoots are settling into their new home on Churchill Island in Phillip Island Nature Parks, as part of a trial release designed to save the species from extinction.

Considered extinct in the wild on the mainland since 1991, this small marsupial has been surviving behind predator-proof fences designed to keep them safe from foxes and feral cats. Eight of the animals released were from Zoos Victoria's captive breeding program, with the remaining eight bandicoots coming from Mt Rothwell Biodiversity Conservation and Research Centre in Victoria's west. 

Thanks to Phillip Island Nature Parks’ efforts over the past 10 years to ensure Churchill Island is fox and feral-cat free, the 57-hectare island in Victoria’s east is considered to be ideal habitat for Eastern Barred Bandicoots.

The trial release of eight male and eight female Eastern Barred Bandicoots onto Churchill Island will be run by Phillip Island Nature Parks and supported by Zoos Victoria and the Eastern Barred Bandicoot Recovery Team. The suitability of the island will be assessed over two years with the findings informing potential future releases of Eastern Barred Bandicoots onto larger fox-free islands, such as Phillip Island and French Island.