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University and citizen science

PICTURES: Bandicoot foraging near a nest site at Munibung Hill. Images recorded at 3.27am Saturday 23 July 2022. Credit: Gavin Ord.

The elusive Bandicoot

AFTER months of searching and hours of scrolling through digital images, we are finally able to report that Bandicoots are still living at Munibung Hill. We have no idea of their numbers or distribution. It’s early days in the monitoring process. Following an extensive baseline survey study over the Summer months, Ted Stein, University of Newcastle, Environmental Sciences Summer Scholarship student, was able to confirm evidence of “snout pokes” at a number of locations. Camera ‘traps’ recorded other native animals such as the Swamp Wallaby, but no Bandicoots.

We aren’t about to reveal the exact locations of where the tracking cameras were installed, but these recordings are the best news we’ve been able to report in a long time.

Gavin Ord has been on the case for many months. 

Knowing that Bandicoots were widespread and for many years there were frequent sightings (which are now hard to come by) makes us all the more determined to protect the remaining population of these precious native animals.

They are small and in their juvenile time of life, even smaller,
making them ideal feral and roaming domestic cat food.

To protect them, we need to drastically reduce the number of roaming domestic cats, which means keeping them out of the bush; contained at their owner’s property. We need all hands on deck to bring about changes in the attitude of cat owners, 70 percent of whom, think their cats do no harm and so let their cats free range. And we need changes in legislation to make it mandatory to contain cats in the same way that we contain dogs. For more, see the CAT REPORT in each issue of Munibung Musings Magazine.


Water and creek health need to be a higher priority
University study shows how important it is to take care of this most precious of nature’s gifts to the human community.

Water on and from the Hill: A physical, chemical and biological baseline study of water on and from Munibung Hill, Lake Macquarie, was a baseline study conducted by Dean Wormald, a third year Environmental Sciences student at the University of Newcastle.  The summary report was delivered to a group of senior lecturers, fellow students and representatives from Munibung Hill Conservation Society. It included:

  1. Physical water quality: In-situ – pH, Conductivity, Turbidity, Dissolved oxygen (DO), Dissolved solids (DS),  Temperature.
  2. Nutrients and Heavy metals Orthophosphate, Nitrate, while Metals included lead, zinc, cadmium, selenium and copper.
  3. Macroinvertebrates: AUSRIVAS – Stream Pollution Index (SPI).
  4. Guidelines: ANZECC & ARMCANZ Lowland Rivers. 95% protection level

Five sites were sampled; three along Hawkins Creek, Speers Point, one at the Windross Drive wetland and one at the Community Centre ponds, Lakelands.

Results summary reveal:
DO concentration may be due to increased organic matter decay. May impact invertebrate and fish populations.

PO4-3 may be in sediment from eroded soil containing P from agricultural fertilisers, sewage and stormwater runoff, or a point source of direct contamination from livestock in upstream rivers/streams.

Exceedances in Silver, Cadmium, Lead. Lead is complexed by dissolved organic matter and strongly absorbed by suspended material.​

The majority of macroinvertebrate specimens have a low (1-3) SIGNAL 2 sensitivity grade, indicating that populations very tolerant to pollution comprise most of the species.

MMM … Issue 32, August 2022