This is the best news in a long while. The challenge is to keep the habitat for this precious species safe from feral predators and undue human interference. Ted Stein reports …
To identify and estimate the population size of bandicoots Isoodon/Perameles sp inhabiting Munibung Hill, field surveys on the site have been conducted at random points within the Munibung Hill landscape. Survey efforts commenced in early January 2022, conducted by third year undergraduate student Theodore Stein and assisted by volunteer second year student Jael Bryden. The project is supervised by Professor Matthew Hayward of the school of Environmental and Life Sciences.
Twenty metre transect surveys have been carried out to record typical signs of bandicoot inhabitation, such as diggings, scat, tracks, and nests within 1m of the transect line. Up until the end of February, a total of 21 transects have been conducted across areas of varying topography and habitat. One small area at the west of the site remains to be surveyed.
Preliminary analysis of the data indicates that bandicoots are present within the Munibung Hill precinct. Observed indicators of occupation are limited to conical diggings (top picture), and nests (bottom picture).
Indicators of fox, rabbit and canine inhabitation/visitation has also been recorded. A small area at the west of the site remains to be surveyed before results can be finalised.
CREDIT: Ted Stein is a third and final year student in the School of Environmental and Life Sciences (ELS), University of Newcastle (UoN), who has been the lead researcher in this Bandicoot study. He has been ably assisted by Jael Bryden, a second year student, who has kindly and wisely volunteered her time assisting with data collection in field surveys, to expand her field knowledge and practical experience. Both are completing an undergraduate degree in Environmental Science and Management. Dr Liam Phelan in the School ELS, is coordinating two research projects with colleagues and students from the UoN, of which the Bandicoot Population study is one. They are part of Summer Scholarship Research Projects (SSRP) conducted by the UoN. We are privileged to have had Ted and Jael along with Professor Matt Hayward, who as supervisor for the project, has been a great source of guidance and support in the conduct of this research.
EDITOR’S NOTE: As a community not-for-profit volunteer operated group this is beyond our capacity and therefore a valuable community service. For the University, Munibung Hill ticks a box for in-the-field student research; for us it comes with an ecological and community benefit to boot. Win-Win-Win
MMM … Issue 27, March 2022