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Eastern Barred Bandicoot - student presentation


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Rachael created this slideshow as a Unit 3 VCE Environmental Science assessment.

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Eastern Barred Bandicoot - student presentation

  1. 1. Eastern Barred bandicoot (Perameles gunnii) Rachael Edwards VCE Environmental Science Unit 3 Ecological Issues: Area of Study 2: Biodiversity SAC:3 Outcome 2: Case study of a threatened species
  2. 2. Eastern Barred Bandicoot Class: Mammalia Order: Polyprotodonta Family: Peramelidae Genus: Perameles Species: P. gunnii Subspecies: unnamed subspecies Status: Extinct in the wild Location: Three protected reintroduced sites in Victorian Grasslands
  3. 3. Description An Eastern barred bandicoot is a small marsupial, which weighs on average, approximately 640 grams, with a body length of roughly 300 millimetres and a 110 millimetre long tail. It has a slim extended head narrowing into a pink nose and a well whiskered muzzle, with large protruding ears. The bandicoot gets its name from the light stripes across its rear. The belly, tail and feet are all white in colour while the rest of its body is covered with soft greyish brown fur. It has long clawed forefeet which are used to dig for food.
  4. 4. Diet Eastern barred bandicoots are omnivores. They mostly eat invertebrates from the soil such as root- eating grubs like cockchafers and corbies. Although they are not only restricted to eating invertebrates from the soil as they also eat beetles, earthworms, berries, fungi and plant material. The bandicoot has an extremely strong smell which helps it to locate its food. Once it finds its food it uses its claws and pointed nose to dig small narrow holes, where they extract their food from. They don’t need to drink since they get enough water from their food.
  5. 5. Breeding and behaviour (Behavioural adaptations) • Despite the high reproductive rate, the death rate, particularly for adolescents is extremely high. Predators and diseases seem to be the main causes of death although the reasons for mortality are not well known. The Eastern Barred Bandicoot has a life span of up to 6 years although in the wild it generally only survives between 1 and 3 years. • Throughout the day the Eastern Barred Bandicoot rests in its nest, which is generally a low hole in the ground with grass dragged across the top. They are nocturnal, appearing after dusk, where they begin scavenging for food. Bandicoots only ever mix when breeding. A female Eastern Barred Bandicoot can produce up to 4 young in a litter, producing between 3 and 4 litters a year. (So they could have a maximum of 16 young in one year.) Between late may and early December the bandicoots give birth to their young.
  6. 6. Characteristics that leave this species exposed to threats • This species is exposed to threat because it is small, which contributes to it being slow making predators catch and kill it very easily. Also because the Eastern Barred Bandicoot is on its own until mating it doesn’t have any one their to help back up, support and look out for it like animals which stay in packs do. Also by having low nests in the ground other animals which are predators such as foxes can easily sniff out and find the bandicoot. I’m not sure what to put on this slide. (How to answer this question.) I couldn’t find any information on it, so I basically just come up with a response I thought was suitable.
  7. 7. Habitat • Habitat is the natural environment of an animal, plant or other organism. The original native habitat for an Eastern Barred Bandicoot was primarily native perennial tussock grasslands with dispersed open wood lands and shrub cover, particularly along watercourses. Now the Eastern Barred Bandicoot is only found in South-eastern Australia. In Tasmania the Eastern Barred Bandicoot is still widely dispersed, being found both in the east and north of the state, although, numbers have reduced and are still reducing, mainly due to destruction of habitat.
  8. 8. An assessment of its significance in its ecosystem(what is it’s niche or role? Does it provide any ecosystem services, biological resources and/or social benefits?) • I’m unsure what to put on this. Is it about it’s role in the food chain?
  9. 9. Genetic population and species diversity • Bandicoot numbers have declined so drastically that it is believed there is only one population of Eastern Barred Bandicoots in the wild (natural occurring population) of roughly five animals left in existence. This very small population is known as functionally extinct. With such a small population size there is also a high chance of inbreeding. Inbreeding generally causes a growth in the number of individuals which are homozygous for a trait, therefore increasing the appearance of recessive traits. These recessive traits can be huge negatives, causing health problems. • Due to captive breeding and re-introduction programs there are now approximately 2,000 Eastern Barred Bandicoots in a few locations which are heavily managed to eliminate predators.
  10. 10. Conservation Status National conservation status: Under the Commonwealth Environment Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 the Eastern Barred Bandicoot is listed as endangered. This means the bandicoot is threatened with extinction. Victorian conservation status: Under the Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 the Eastern Barred bandicoot is classified as being threatened. This means it is likely that in the near future it will become an endangered species. According to DSE’s Advisory List of Threatened Vertebrate Fauna in Victoria (in 2003) stated the Bandicoot was critically endangered in Victoria. This means the Eastern Barred Bandicoot is facing an exceptionally high risk of becoming extinct in the wild. In Tasmania, Eastern Barred Bandicoots are faring much better than in Victoria, mostly due to the absence of foxes. This status has continued to change as more and more of native grassland (habitat) is being destroyed.
  11. 11. What threatens the bandicoot? • Prior to the arrival of European’s in Tasmania the Eastern Barred Bandicoot mainly existed in native grasslands and grassy woodlands of the Midlands. Now the bandicoot has mainly disappeared from the Midlands area due to being cleared for agriculture and grazing (over 99% of the state which was suitable bandicoot habitat has disappeared. • Clearing land on mainland Australia also contributed to the radical decline of the Eastern barred bandicoot. This is due to the clearing of remnant native bush and weeds (ground cover) as it has the potential to change habitat which is prime for bandicoots into an area where the species cannot possibly survive, such as wasteland. Reduction in rainfall caused by climate change also contributed to the reduction in Eastern Barred Bandicoots, as they have more food and survive better in moist, damp habitats. The predation by introduced species, the fox (European Red Fox) also contributed to the decline as well cats and dogs as they kill and eat the Eastern Barred Bandicoots. Cats kill Eastern Barred Bandicoots, especially juveniles, although the impact on the population is no where as severe as foxes. Inbreeding is another huge threat to the Eastern Barred Bandicoot as it minimises genetic diversity and can cause health problems. • The Eastern Barred Bandicoots main competitor is rabbits as they eat both eat plant materials (similar foods).
  12. 12. Previous management actions Wild Population Management at Hamilton Investigation in the 1970’s showed a massive decline in the species range and abundance across the range had occurred. The population was studied in 1980 by Brown and in the same year an active management for bandicoot conservation started, with the aim being to develop and improve habitat for the Eastern Barred Bandicoot. Work in Hamilton commenced to develop and extend habitat by purchasing land and providing sections of habitat as well as hard shelters. In order to control predators trapping, shooting and promotion of responsible pet ownership were all attempted. Information sessions for community members were held and brochures were given out to inform them of what was happening and what they could do in order to prevent the reduction in numbers of Eastern Barred Bandicoots. Despite everything that happened and was attempted to save the Eastern Barred Bandicoots in Hamilton the range and total population size declined. It got to a point where it was decided successfully recovering the Bandicoots in Hamilton wasn’t possible and the wild population (which was able to be caught) was decided to be relocated to the Woodlands Historic Park.
  13. 13. Captive breeding and re-introduction program Mainland Eastern Barred Bandicoots were at the edge of extinction and an intensive captive breeding and re-introduction program brought them back. The captive breeding program run by zoo’s Victoria supplements wild populations with animals which are captive bred. It also works closely with the recovery team in order to bring this species back from the edge. In 1992 zoos Victoria assumed responsibility for captive breeding and switched to intensively managed facilities to breed bandicoots for re- introduction. Since then Eastern Barred Bandicoots have been bred for the recovery program at the three Zoos Victoria properties (Healesville Sanctuary, Melbourne Zoo and Werribee Zoo). Due to the program there are now approximately 2,000 Eastern Barred Bandicoots in a few locations which are heavily managed to eliminate predators. Eastern Barred Bandicoots were first reintroduced into large fenced enclosures, resulting in the establishment of two semi-wild populations.
  14. 14. • Through the Wild Futures program, Conservation Volunteers Australia is working in partnership with Parks Victoria at Woodlands Historic Park and Serendip Sanctuary, Department of Sustainability & Environment Communities for Nature, Mt Rothwell Biodiversity Centre and the Eastern Barred Bandicoot Recovery Team to create secure areas where these bandicoots can flourish in their native grassland habitat. • A population of Eastern Barred Bandicoot’s were established at Mt Rothwell Sanctuary with the help of FAME (Foundation for Australia’s most Endangered Species). In order for Eastern Barred Bandicoots to recover in numbers areas of their natural habitat will need to be protected from predators.
  15. 15. Strategies which have been recommended to reduce threats • Bandicoots are often killed by cats and dogs, often causes significant mortality in a few populations. Cats can carry a fatal disease Toxoplasmosis and it can be transported to Eastern Barred Bandicoots consequently killing them. • Simply by keeping pets inside at night we can minimise the number of wildlife killed by our pets. Keeping cats inside would mean they are less likely to give wildlife such as the Eastern Barred Bandicoot the fatal disease. Also by stopping dogs from wandering they will have a significantly lower chance of taking bandicoots from their nests during the day.
  16. 16. Strategies that have been used or recommended to reduce the threats and their effectiveness • Zoos and wildlife sanctuary's have created safe and secure areas where Eastern Barred Bandicoots can flourish in their native grassland habitat. In 2012 the Woodlands Historic Park finished an exclusion fence and know its focus is on eradicating pests, maintaining the fence and enclosure (removal of invasive weed species and planting of native grasses) to ensure the Eastern Barred Bandicoots are safe. This strategy wasn’t successful at the beginning. There were five reintroduction sites which have now the population have become extinct due to presence of foxes. The Woodlands Historic Park was one site this happened to and it did have a predator barrier fence, although unfortunately it didn’t exclude all foxes. But now with more secure habitats in better locations (minimal presence of foxes), this program is seen as successful.
  17. 17. Objectives and intended management actions Objective 1-Establish and monitor self-sustaining reintroduced populations Action Targets Responsible Monitor re-introduced populations • Regularly collect data on re-introduced populations • Annual report bandicoot survival in relation to characteristics of site • Based on the information gathered produce site management protocols • DSE • Parks Victoria • National trust recovery team Compile, maintain and assess information • All monitoring and predator control data stored on a single database and regularly uploaded. • Annual reports of recovery effort progress published on DSE website DSE South West Do I need this. I have a lot more, but I don’t know whether to include it or not.
  18. 18. How numbers are estimated In areas of up to 5 hectares in size the techniques listed below are suitable for detecting the presence of Eastern Barred Bandicoots: • daytime searches for potential habitat resources, such as areas with open grassland in proximity to refuge and shelter sites • daytime searches for signs, such as scats, tracks, nests and conical foraging holes • collection and analysis of predator scats • soil plot surveys • hair tube surveys • cage trapping • baited camera traps The Southern Brown Bandicoots range overlaps with the Eastern Barred Bandicoot, so as consequence direct detection techniques should be used at sites with signs of nesting or foraging so you can distinguish between the two species. There have been reports from a number of researchers stating cage trapping and hair sampling are unsuccessful, especially since so much time and effort is required for this. Researchers recommend that for initial detection, time should be spent focusing on searching for soil plot surveys as well as signs. The most effective method for identifying Eastern Barred Bandicoots is by using baited camera traps.
  19. 19. Bibliography • • (why threatened) • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Go with Eastern Barred Bandicoot in Victoria. Victorian management strategy –MUST DO