Saving Bandicoots near Balliang

Conservation work is making a difference at Mt Rothwell, near Balliang, where Catchment Management Authority staff and volunteers have saved more than three times the expected number of bandicoots.

The 453-hectare private conservation zone is considered an ‘ark’, established to protect threatened vegetation and provide habitat for the eastern barred bandicoot, eastern quoll and brush-tailed wallaby.

Surveys reveal more than 1150 eastern barred bandicoots were on the property, despite the presence of rabbits that overgraze and destroy grassland habitat needed by the native creatures for nesting.

The first wild release of 16 eastern barred bandicoots onto predator-free Churchill Island earlier this month included eight from the Mt Rothwell reserve.

The number of critically endangered eastern quolls at Mt Rothwell is also now more than 100, the largest self-sustaining population outside Tasmania, and most roam free.

Their numbers were boosted by the recent arrival of up to 48 joeys from this year’s captive breeding pairs program.

Females breed once a year and give birth to up to 30 young.

By Neslim Djemal