Last night I went spotlighting. Thank you to Amy, who hosted me at Mt Rothwell. Amy is part of the recovery team for the Eastern Barred Bandicoot (EBB), trying to bring it back from the brink of extinction. A tough and ongoing challenge.
As soon as dark permitted (and animals were awake) Amy drove and I wielded the spotlight, in the search for the elusive EBB.
There was nightlife aplenty. We saw Pademelon, Bettong, Southern Brown Bandicoots, Red-necked Wallabies, Brush-tailed Rock Wallabies, Eastern Grey Kangaroos. We also found ten EBB, the location of which Amy logged with GPS.
This morning we were up before dawn ready to check the traps Amy had laid out yesterday. Again our target was EBB, but Bettong
(who nest in these so-invisible grassy beds that we were almost on top of them before they shot off)
seem to like the sweet and chewy bait, as did Quoll
and Southern Brown Bandicoots.
and Amy weighed, measured and health-checked them before releasing them. Some of the captured animals were keen to leave and hop-raced away as soon as the cage door was lifted. Others were happy to stick around for photos.
Fantastic. There was also an amazing sunrise.
See the traps in the foreground below? They are laid out in patterns calculated to catch not only the early-dusk emerging animals, but also the later-rising EBBs.
What a place! The Mt Rothwell site is fenced to keep out foxes and feral cats. It's almost completedly rabbit-free too. I reckon we've driven past this place with no idea of the population within. I'm hoping I'll have a chance to visit again.