Eastern Barred Bandicoot update
Since 2015 dedicated efforts to save the Eastern Barred Bandicoot from extinction have been undertaken on Phillip Island (Summerland Peninsula) and nearby Churchill Island and French Island by Phillip Island Nature Parks, Zoos Victoria and other partners of the Eastern Barred Bandicoot Recovery Team. The mainland subspecies of Eastern Barred Bandicoot (Perameles gunnii) was wiped out by foxes and habitat loss and is listed as extinct in the wild. Bandicoots were released on both islands with the aim of establishing self-sustaining wild populations. The populations are currently healthy and have stabilised, with routine monitoring continuing.
In April and May 2021 the Nature Parks research team conducted population surveys Eastern Barred Bandicoots on Churchill Island and Phillip Island and found they were doing well. The research team found similar numbers of bandicoots to previous years, and that the population was continuing to disperse across Phillip Island with some individuals recorded over six kilometers from the original release site on the Summerland Peninsula. The team joined by Zoos Victoria’s Veterinary Team also tested 27 bandicoots for the prevalence of toxoplasmosis in the Summerland Peninsula population. Toxoplasmosis is a disease spread in the urine and faeces of cats which can infect all mammal species, likely causing death. Feral cats are found on Phillip Island and monitoring bandicoots for the spread of the disease, as well as other impacts of feral cats remains a priority.