Recently I was lucky to see several Eastern Barred Bandicoots (Peremeles gunnii) while on a tour at Mt Rothwell. They are really quite small, about as big as a rabbit. You can see why they are no longer found in the wild in Victoria when they are a handy sized meal for a fox.
Captive breeding programs are being relied on to build up numbers so they can be released into more large predator proof enclosures. Eastern Barred Bandicoots (EBB) have one of the shortest gestation periods of any mammal at 12.5 days which makes it sound like breeding them should be easy, but the genetic diversity is poor so it is not as easy as it seems.
Mt Rothwell has the largest EBB population in the recovery program. When the predator proof fence is finally completed and the foxes and cats controlled, Tiverton, a 800 ha grassland property near Dundonnell, will their new home.
This is recovery project has many partners including Zoos Victoria. It is great to get a glimpse of what it may have been like in the grasslands to see them in the wild, by taking a tour at Mt Rothwell. There are other animals to see there, including rock wallabies, pademelons and eastern quolls.