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‘Puppy Love’ To Help Threatened Bandicoots

21 February 2015

The Andrews Labor Government is teaming up with the community and a squad of dogs to help the Eastern Barred Bandicoot step back from the edge of extinction on mainland Australia.

The Guardian Dog Trial Program will see a team of six dogs trained to protect Eastern Barred Bandicoots.

Minister for Environment, Climate Change & Water, Lisa Neville today met Albus, a four month old Maremma sheep dog who is an ambassador for the Program

The trial is inspired by the Middle Island Maremma Project, where Guardian Dogs have successfully protected Little Penguins near Warrnambool, enabling the population to flourish.

As part of the trial, Maremma Guardian Dogs act as bandicoot bodyguards, protecting them from feral cats and foxes.

Once thought to be lost forever in Victoria, less than 50 Eastern Barred Bandicoots were rediscovered living amongst a pile of wrecked cars at the Hamilton tip in the late 1980s.

Melbourne Zoo has since bred 650 Bandicoots, with many released at protected feral-proof fenced areas in Hamilton, Mount Rothwell and Woodlands Historic Park.

The Labor Government has contributed $100,000 towards the trial, as part of the broader Eastern Barred Bandicoot recovery program. In addition to the Government’s contribution, community donations have supported the trial.

One generous donor is 6-year-old Isaac Busuttil, who raised almost $500 towards the program by asking his friends and family to contribute money to the cause rather than buy him presents for his sixth birthday.

The first trial is planned to take place at Tiverton Station, a private piece of land in Western Victoria where two guardian dogs will work to protect Bandicoots after their release.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Environment, Lisa Neville

“The Eastern Barred Bandicoot is considered ‘extinct in the wild’ on mainland Australia. This Guardian Dog trial is a rare opportunity to begin to bring them back from extinction.”

“This trial could herald a new approach to conservation for many of our threatened species.”

“Across Australia a number of species are facing extinction, and the Labor Government is working to protect these species wherever possible through innovative projects such as the Guardian Dog trial.”

Quotes attributable to Member for Werribee and Treasurer Tim Pallas

“I am excited to be here at Werribee Zoo to meet Albus and support this innovative trial that could potentially bring the Eastern Barred Bandicoot back from extinction.”

“I commend Werribee locals and people across Victoria who have donated more than $190,000 towards the Guardian Dog trial during Zoo Victoria’s recent appeal.”

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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