By Brendan Rees
Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria in Cranbourne is looking for keen wildlife enthusiasts to help with a four night nocturnal Southern Brown Bandicoot survey.
Starting at 7:30 pm on Friday 22 November, residents, walkers and animal lovers of all ages are encouraged to sign up for the walk, which will depart from the Stringybark Picnic Area at Cranbourne Gardens.
“The more people we can get on board who are able to identify a bandicoot and log a sighting, the better our data will be,” said Charlotte Fletcher, Southern Brown Bandicoot Outreach Officer at Cranbourne Gardens.
Any wildlife sightings will be logged using iNaturalist, a simple app which crowdsources accurate identifications of plants and animals. All data verified on iNaturalist is uploaded to Australia’s national biodiversity database and can be used in future conservation decision making.
“A guided spotlighting walk helps people learn to identify the local wildlife and understand more about what our local critters need to survive,” said Charlotte.
The other walks will take place at other known bandicoot hotspots including public reserve areas adjacent to the Cranbourne Racecourse on 26 November; the central reserve in Brookland Greens estate on 29 November; and the golf course at Settlers Run on 3 December.
Attendees will benefit from the citizen science expertise of Sera Blair, Naturewatch coordinator at the Victorian National Parks Association, and biological knowhow of Sarah Maclagan, a southern brown bandicoot researcher from Deakin University.
The program is supported by the City of Casey, the Hazel and Arthur Bruce Bequest, and the Victorian Government. To register visit http://bandicootspotlighting.eventbrite.com.au