Bandicoots boom as employees lend a hand

Staff members from Hume City Council have donated their time and money to help boost the numbers of a rare native animal at Woodlands Historic Park in Greenvale.

Hume employees this year raised more than $700 at a morning tea in support of the Eastern-Barred Bandicoot, which was reintroduced to Woodlands Historic Park in 2010.

Hume Mayor, Councillor Helen Patsikatheodorou, said the efforts of Hume staff, and many other people, had resulted in large increases in the number of bandicoots this year.

“A count in July recorded 114 Eastern-Barred Bandicoots, which represented a 30 per cent rise on the previous tally,” Cr Patsikatheodorou said.

“Staff members from Hume City Council volunteered at a trap and release day at Woodlands Historic Park on 21 October 2015, and we expect that the number of bandicoots has climbed even further.

“This is wonderful news about one of Australia’s cutest native animals, and I’m so proud that Hume City Council’s employees have given up their time and money to assist.”

Bandicoots are believed to have bred more strongly this year because foxes have been eradicated from Woodlands Historic Park.

Cr Patsikatheodorou said that while bandicoots could breed up to five times a year, a number of problems had combined to almost wipe out the species.

“By 1991, urban development had pushed many bandicoots from their traditional habitats, and foxes and cats also preyed heavily on these small animals,” she said.

Growth in the number of Eastern-Barred Bandicoots has been the focus of Conservation Volunteers Australia, an organisation which Hume’s staff members support.

Conservation Volunteers Australia regularly coordinates the trap and release days at Woodlands Historic Park, and assesses bandicoots for their health and breeding ability.

Cr Patsikatheodorou encouraged people to visit Woodlands Historic Park to view the beautiful environment that the nocturnal creatures call home.

“It’s hard to believe that this Australian bush park is located so close to the centre of Melbourne,” she said.

“Woodlands Historic Park is situated just a few minutes north of Melbourne Airport, and includes scrubby woodland and huge expanses of grassland.

“The park is also home to tourist attractions, such as Living Legends and Woodlands Homestead.”

For further information, call Hume City Council on 03 9205 2200.

Updated : 4:04 PM, 4 November 2015

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