10 May 2016

Page 9

Bandicoot to keep ‘endangered’ status DESPITE the best efforts of environmentalists and some government departments the survival of the southern brown bandicoot remains uncertain. With few viable colonies of the small marsupial remaining around Frankston and on the Mornington Peninsula it “endangered species” status was last week reaffirmed. Foxes, feral cats and land clearing are among the bandicoot’s biggest threats. Environment Minister Greg Hunt told a biodiversity forum organised by the Western Port Biosphere that he agreed with the southern brown bandicoot staying on the endangered list. His announcement on Friday 6 May came one day after 49 extra species of flora and fauna were added to the federal government’s threatened species list. Mr Hunt told the forum he was “delighted to provide an update on our work for threatened species”, but apparently made no mention of the additions to the list. Mr Hunt said money from the federal government would help Western Port Biosphere protect 184 hectares of remnant vegetation, with 36 hectares “revegetated by the end of this year in this wildlife-rich region south-east of Melbourne”. “Landcare groups, councils and park managers are working together to help connect and improve wildlife habitat corridors. The project will help species such as the southern brown bandicoot and the hooded plover, one of the 20 priority birds under our Threatened Species Strategy,” Mr Hunt said. Parks Victoria has announced that from November it will ban dogs from beaches within the linear Mornington Peninsula National Park as part of efforts to prevent the hooded plover be-

coming locally extinct. “A local predator control strategy is also in place in the Western Port Biosphere, supported by camera-trap monitoring of feral cats, foxes and the southern brown bandicoots they prey on,” Mr Hunt said. He said the national Threatened Species Strategy “is on track to achieve its 2020 targets and is already delivering real wins for our native animals and plants”. “Less than a year on from its launch, this new roadmap to help fight extinctions of our native flora and fauna is benefitting at-risk species with targeted, practical action. With almost 1800 of our species listed as threatened, Australia needs to work harder and smarter to secure their future.” Mr Hunt said that since 2014 the 20 mammals and 20 birds had been nominated as priority species with the government “committing to improving their trajectories by 2020 and funding recovery actions for each of them”. A task force had been established to tackle feral cats, with all states and territories agreeing “to prioritise feral cat management in threatened species recovery programs”. Australian Conservation Foundation campaigner Jess Abrahams was quoted in Saturday’s The Guardian that last week’s federal budget failed to include any new funding for the threatened species strategy. The only mention of the environment in a budget news release issued by Mr Hunt’s office on 5 May mainly related to $171 million for the Great Barrier Reef. “We are also committed to preserving our natural environment for future generations and are doing more than ever before to protect the Great Barrier Reef,” Mr Hunt stated. Keith Platt

Wing and rain did not stop these walkers from supporting the Dolphin Research Institute’s through its annual Walk for Western Port.

Wet weather stroll for dolphins WIND and rain did little to deter participants in the annual Walk for Western Port which raises money and awareness for the Hastings-based Dolphin Research Institute. “It was the wettest day in the event’s history and they all deserve a medal,” the institute’s executive director Jeff Weir said. “Western Port is not on most people’s radar, so it is critical to help the community see mud and mangroves in a different light.” Walkers in the DRI’s sixth annual event included families and teachers from 21 schools, with some did the long walk from Jack’s Beach, Bitter, back to Hastings through Warringine Reserve. The schools are participants in the Dolphin Research Institute’s ‘i sea, i care’ school ambassador program. To support the walkers through the Institute’s website until the end of May go to www.dolphinresearch.org.au

Crayfish walkers: The Edwards family chose a crayfish theme for the annual Western Port Walk.

The DRI’s annual Whales Weekend is held over the next month’s long weekend. Mr Weir said whales were often sighted about that time each year and some trips aboard the Kasey Lee with Wildlife Coast Cruises would be linked with other activities Phillip Island.

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