Southern Brown Bandicoots are medium-sized ground-dwelling native marsupials, who have a long pointed snout, small round ears, a large rump and short, thick tail. These animals are ecosystem engineers who contribute to improvements in soil quality but need dense or thick shrubby understorey plantings to provide shelter.
The South Coast Environment Centre and the Normanville Natural Resource Centre in conjunction with the Natural Resources Management Board are coordinating a volunteer group called the Bandicoot Recovery Action Group (BRAG) on the Fleurieu.
Southern Brown Bandicoots are a nationally listed under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 as an endangered species. The recovery of the Southern Brown Bandicoot in the Mount Lofty Ranges relies on the reduction of threatening processes, the enhancement and protection of suitable habitat and the establishment of connections between patches of remnant vegetation.
A first field trip at Deep Creek Conservation Park set up cameras in the area. This initial project is to help the Department for Environment & Water's Fire Management team who are keen to improve their understanding of the distribution of the Southern Brown Bandicoot in parks where prescribed burns are planned. While the primary objective of prescribed burning is typically to reduce the risk that bushfires pose to human life and assets, prescribed burns can also play a really important role in helping to manage habitat for native flora and fauna, and reduce the threat that bushfires present to them.
Improving knowledge about where bandicoots occur helps ensure that only small proportions of bandicoot habitat are burnt at any one time. It can also be used to help us better understand the habitat requirements of bandicoots and how quickly this habitat responds to fire. The Fire Ecology team and the Region's Threatened Fauna Ecologist have undertaken some monitoring in the Adelaide Hills to answer these questions but more survey work is needed to ensure we are managing bandicoot habitat in a way that helps this species prosper.
While bandicoots are known to occur in Deep Creek Conservation Park, it's not known how widespread they are.
Bandicoot Photos by Kirsten Abley
First training day