The Eastern Barred Bandicoot is a small, nocturnal marsupial. The mainland subspecies of Eastern Barred Bandicoot, Perameles gunnii, is listed as extinct in the wild.
Eastern Barred Bandicoots rest in a shallow, grass lined nest during the day and come out to forage at night on a variety of invertebrates, such as worms, grubs and beetles. They are a solitary animals and have a short gestation period, with young born after just 12 days of pregnancy. They have distinct bars on their rump as their name suggests.
Eastern Barred Bandicoots were once widespread across the grasslands and grassy woodlands of western Victoria, extending into the south-east corner of South Australia. Widespread decline of the species occurred across Victoria, primarily due to a combination of predation by introduced foxes and habitat loss. By the 1970’s, the subspecies could only be found in Hamilton, but this population was also declining.
In 1989, the Eastern Barred Bandicoot was on the brink of extinction, this led to the formation of a multi-organisational Recovery Team that coordinated a recovery program focusing on predator control, habitat management and captive breeding.
In 1991, Zoos Victoria commenced management of the captive breeding program and has bred more than 650 bandicoots. There are currently three reintroduced populations of Eastern Barred Bandicoots protected by predator-barrier fences on the mainland and a fourth population on Churchill Island.
Zoos Victoria coordinates the captive breeding program and plays a key role in the recovery of this species through:
The Eastern Barred Bandicoot Recovery Team has members from Conservation Volunteers Australia, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), Mt Rothwell Biodiversity Interpretation Centre, National Trust of Australia, Parks Victoria, Phillip island Nature Parks, the University of Melbourne, Tiverton Property Partnering and Zoos Victoria.