On World Environment Day Victorian families descended on Werribee Open Range Zoo in support of the Eastern Barred Bandicoot, a local species in need of a helping hand.
Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Lily D’Ambrosio joined the celebrations, where families were able to meet an Eastern Barred Bandicoot, learn about the threats that they face and get involved in the conservation of native wildlife.
Free for kids under 16, Go Wild for Bandicoots will shine a spotlight on the conservation of the species, with a program that includes a bandicoot bush dance, hourly Keeper Talks, bandicoot craft, face-painting activities with Zooperman and performances by two larger than life bandicoot characters.
Celebrated by more than 100 countries, World Environment Day is a global platform for raising awareness and driving action for conservation.
Eastern Barred Bandicoots once ranged across Western Victoria, but they are currently extinct in the wild of mainland Australia because of habitat loss and predators, mostly introduced species.
As part of the Eastern Barred Bandicoot Recovery Team, Zoos Victoria has been part of the breeding and release program for the bandicoots for 25 years.
In 2015, the Andrews Labor Government put $100,000 towards a Guardian Dog Trial, with Zoos Victoria working with a range of partners to determine if Maremmas can protect Eastern Barred Bandicoots from foxes and feral cats.
The Victorian community is also playing a vital role in the recovery of this species with Ms D’Ambrosio encouraging local schools to get involved in Wyndham’s grassroots schools program, Love Your Locals.
Now in its fifth year, Love Your Locals brings together more than 100 primary school students each year to take part in action to support the Eastern Barred Bandicoot, with registrations opening this weekend.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio
“It’s terrific to see Victorian families taking up the call to help save our native wildlife, including the iconic Eastern Barred Bandicoot, this World Environment Day.”
“It’s great that schools can also get involved and help Zoos Victoria and its partners to bring this species back from the brink of extinction.”
“The Andrews Labor Government is proud to support efforts to save this species including the innovative Guardian Dog program, which is training Maremmas to act as Bandicoot Bodyguards in the wild.”