How many bettongs?

Admin Aridrecovery - Thursday, June 15, 2017
This May we did a big bettong trap up to estimate the population size for Red Lake and the Main Exclosure. We worked in four teams of 15 people (12 of them volunteers) trapping bettongs flat out for 8 nights straight (with some bonus bilby chasing thrown in for PhD student Aly Ross's project).

Kristi Lee was one of our volunteers and made this video with Katherine Moseby. Have a watch!

We caught 216 bettongs in Red Lake, showing that the population is still increasing despite coexisting with a small number of feral cats. In the Main Exclosure we caught 402 bettongs, a very high success rate: 72% of traps caught a bettong. We also caught 16 Western Barred Bandicoots, 5 Greater Bilbies and one Stick-nest Rat.

Mel Jensen returned to help with the trapping and lead a team. She previously did her Honours on Western Barred Bandicoots at Arid Recovery and was delighted to trap some bonus bandicoots. Photo by Kath Tuft

A Western Barred Bandicoot in a trap. It was a delight to catch several bandicoots which are now abundant enough within the reserve to be caught regularly in cage traps. Photo by volunteer Samantha Kirby

A subadult bettong snuggles up in a fleece bag. The mornings were cold for both us and the bettongs so we all rugged up - us in our woolies and the bettongs with cosy double bags over each trap. Photo by Kath Tuft

Volunteer Kim Thomas cuddles a bettong joey that was thrown out of the pouch by its mother. Bettongs are notoriously bad mothers and can eject their young when stressed. We spent some time with this joey and others tucking them back into their mothers' pouches and gently sealing them with light tape. This stops the mother from ejecting the young again when she is released down her burrow, where she'll easily pull the tape off later in the safety of the warren. Photo by Kim Solly

Thanks to all our excellent volunteers for your help!

Peggie Lois commented on 19-Jun-2017 11:34 AM
Thank you for the video, so pleased to see the results of all the years of hard work.
Congratulations on the success of the program.
So sorry I am too old to take part and live a bit far away.

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Arid recovery is a conservation initiative supported by:
adelaide university