$250,000 grant kicks Bandicoot Super Highway into top gear

17 Dec 2020

Landcare pilot projects for a ‘Bandicoot Super Highway’ to boost the recovery of the endangered Southern Brown Bandicoot can now go ahead thanks to $250,000 in funding secured by the Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie.

The money will go to the Sturt Upper Reaches Landcare Group to accelerate their 10-year project to design and support a range of conservation approaches on private and public land.

“Local conservationists have had plans to recover bandicoot populations and bring their regional status in the Mount Lofty Ranges from ‘endangered’ to ‘vulnerable’ for the past 20 years, but their efforts have been largely underfunded and fragmented,” Rebekha said.

“The Sturt Upper Reaches Landcare Group approached me about their Bandicoot Super Highway initiative and I am really pleased that the Government has seen the enormous environmental benefit of supporting their projects.

“The Landcare group will work with the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife and the Department for Environment and Water to connect, protect and improve bandicoot habitat between Williamstown and Deep Creek.

“I am advised their activities will be undertaken on large areas of public land as well as linking areas of private land.

“I am also excited by the community education and awareness component of this project which will involve reaching out to the local community through schools, community events and traditional and social media.

“The Mount Lofty Ranges is one of 15 recognised biodiversity hotspots in Australia because of its diverse woodland and grassland habitats.

“We need projects such as this to deliver long-term conservation outcomes.”

Danny Rohrlach, President of the Sturt Upper Reaches Landcare Group, said members were delighted and sincerely thanked Rebekha for efforts to secure the funding.

“This grant means that years of planning and fieldwork by the SURLG Committee, volunteers, local landholders and many others to rescue the Southern Brown Bandicoot from the brink of extinction will now kick into top gear,” Danny said.

“Southern Brown Bandicoots are critically important ecosystem engineers because they churn up the ground in search of food, which improves the condition of the soil and promotes plant germination.

“They were once widely distributed throughout the Mount Lofty Ranges, with historical records showing them as far north as Para Wirra Conservation Park.

“A major focus of the Bandicoot Super Highway Project is ensuring there is high quality connected habitats with dense vegetation and cover so Bandicoots are safe from predators.

“The grant will greatly enhance the ability of SURLG and its key partners to work together effectively to ensure an icon of the Mount Lofty Ranges not only survives but thrives.”

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