After being considered extinct in the wild for 30 years on mainland Australia, eastern barred bandicoots have become the first Australian species to have their conservation status changed.
The eastern barred bandicoot population fell to just 150 bandicoots in 1988, occupying a single area of land near Hamilton, Victoria. There are now over 1,500 wild bandicoots found all across Victoria thanks to successful breeding and release programs set up by conservation groups and government agencies.
"It is a wonderful story, it is an important story, it points not just to government investments but that fantastic strong collaboration of scientists, researchers, communities and volunteers that have come together to get this fantastic outcome," Environment Minister, Lily D'Ambrosio, told ABC News.
"Community volunteers have played a big role at many of the reintroduction sites, helping check fences, count bandicoots and remove weeds and pests."
The small nocturnal animals were once widespread across Victoria and South Australia but their numbers dwindled due to habitat loss and predation by foxes. Now, they are thriving in fox-free conservation areas where they have shown surprising resilience to different habitat conditions and other predators such as feral cats.
While the eastern barred bandicoot is still endangered, it is the first critter in Australia to have its extinction status reversed, showing dedicated conservation efforts can have a huge impact on some of our most vulnerable species.
Positive Environment News has been compiled using publicly available information. Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes.