Mt Rothwell holds over 80% of the world’s mainland Eastern Barred Bandicoot (EBB) population.
EBB reintroduction into the wild at Mt Rothwell has been extremely successful. Since the return in 2004 of 24 bandicoots, thousands have been bred and released. Several generations later, we maintain the longest self-sustaining most wild population of EBBs on the mainland of Australia.
The benefits of this are that the animals have acquired skills and traits that assure their survival against the harsh pressure of the Australian environment. Their flight responses are regularly tested by the presence of many species of raptors, Eastern Quolls and Spot-tailed Quolls. They are in constant competition for resources with other native species and the (decreasing) rabbit population. Mt Rothwell’s bandicoots are regularly exposed to droughts, seasonal floods, storms and occasionally fires and this further instils behaviours which are critical to survival against all the elements likely to be encountered in future wild establishment.
We plan to expand their range to our sister property Tiverton in western Victoria. Tiverton is the newest property due to be established as a feral free site. At 1000 ha it will certainly take the credit away from Mt Rothwell as Victoria’s largest feral predator-free site.
Eastern Barred Bandicoots are critical in the grassland environment, being highly energetic omnivorous creatures, they spend most of their active period digging little conical holes which break up dense grasses to allow wildflowers to grow. This action also softens the ground, turns over leaf litter and spreads important soil microbes which in turn assists in developing a diverse habitat that is less prone to wildfires. EBBs eat almost anything, so assist in deterring insect plagues and preventing the spread of disease.
The Eastern Barred Bandicoot Recovery Team consists of a number of stakeholders which have directly contributed to the species recovery, including: the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Cesar, University of Melbourne, Zoos Victoria, Conservation Volunteers, National Trust, Parks Victoria and Mt Rothwell. These institutions work together to ensure the species is conserved and that extinction is avoided.