First baby bandicoot born at Booderee in a century

Booderee National Park is celebrating its first baby southern brown bandicoot born in a century after the endangered marsupial was reintroduced to the park last year.

Southern brown bandicoots had not been seen in the area since World War One but a collaborative effort between government, non-government and research organisations is bringing the bandicoots back.

Parks Australia senior project officer Dr Nick Dexter is running the three-year translocation program that aims to bring the bandicoots back to the national park.

He said he’d received a call from one of the researchers out in the field to say they had a young female bandicoot in their hands that they’d never seen before.

“This is great news because it shows the population we translocated last year is not only surviving, but may be growing,” Dr Dexter said. “We’re only halfway through the project but signs are good that we are bringing the southern brown bandicoot back to Booderee.”

The southern brown bandicoot has the second shortest gestation span of any mammal – about 12 days from conception to birth.

“Intensive pest control measures over many years have led to suitable conditions for the bandicoots’ return,” Dr Dexter said.

“Small mammals play an important role in our ecosystems and the release of these bandicoots into areas where they’ve been locally extinct for almost 100 years helps restore ecological balance to the national park.”

The last recorded sighting of the southern brown bandicoot in the Booderee area prior to their reintroduction was 1919.

In 2016 six females and five males were introduced to Booderee National Park and another 12 have just been translocated from NSW state forests near Eden to the park. Next year even more bandicoots will be relocated to Booderee from state forests.

Forestry Corporation of NSW Senior Field Ecologist Rohan Bilney was thrilled to hear about the newborn bandicoot in the park.

“We’ve been partnering with Parks Australia and the Australian National University for years to reintroduce southern brown bandicoots to Booderee National Park,” Dr Bilney said.

“That we’ve got good numbers of bandicoots to transfer is due to an effective fox control program that began in state forests near Eden nine years ago. Since regular baiting in Nadgee, East Boyd, Yambulla, Timbillica and Bruces Creek State Forests we’ve seen remarkable changes in the populations of many native marsupials.

“We regularly survey 100,000 hectares using 110 remote camera sites to monitor the size and health of wildlife populations.

“The State forests around Eden are working forests and Forestry Corporation carefully balances timber production, biodiversity, community recreation and a range of other values in these forests. The fact that these species are continuing to thrive shows that these production forests are in great health and native wildlife is thriving.”

The capture and relocation of the bandicoots is a collaborative project between Parks Australia, Forestry Corporation of NSW, the Australian National University, the Threatened Species Recovery Hub (part of the National Environmental Science Programme) and the Taronga Conservation Society.

Media contact: Elizabeth Fowler 9407 4265/ 0408 779 903