Application for Scientific Permit – Available for Public Comment
Public comment on the following application for a Scientific Research (Fauna) Permit is open until 27 April.
Applicant: University of Tasmania
Species/Taxon: Eastern barred bandicoot (Perameles gunnii) and feral cat (Felis catus) are the focus species of this study. Potential bycatch species on camera and live-trap (LT, subject to immediate release) include: southern brown bandicoot (LT), macropods, possums, brush-tailed possum (LT), rats and mice, black rat (LT), spotted tail & eastern quoll, Tasmanian devil, wombat, feral cat.
Location: On private landholdings in northern Tasmania with the Launceston, West Tamar, Northern Midlands, Georgetown, Meander Valley Municipalities.
Title of research: Distribution and abundance of eastern barred bandicoots, their habitat use and response to habitat restoration in Northern Tasmania.
Aim of project:
We aim to assess the environmental drivers, habitat use and landscape features that drive presence, abundance and geneflow in northern Tasmania. We will investigate whether bandicoots are using revegetated sites, and the results will directly inform the future revegetation workings of NRM north bandicoot project. Lastly, we aim to investigate the degree that feral cats (Felis catus) threaten bandicoots on a population level, specifically through drivers such as predation and their obligate parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, which causes toxoplasmosis.
The eastern barred bandicoot (EBB hereafter) is listed as extinct in the wild on mainland Australia and specially protected in Tasmania. The knowledge that we generate in the study will directly affect the conservation of EBBs by underpinning recovery efforts being undertaken by NRM North and will inform conservation efforts and planning by organisations such as the Tasmanian Land Conservancy. Presence and abundance of EBBs in northern Tasmania and the drivers of variability in abundance between different regions of Tasmania are poorly understood.
Maximum likely numbers of individuals involved: Camera detections (live-trapping): 500 (100) EBBs, 500 cats plus bycatch.
Activities undertaken and methods:
The primary research will involve camera trapping. Once a distribution has been recorded, we will use wire cage traps for trapping. Once trapped a bandicoot will be subject to handling, microchipping and blood sampling, tracking using GPS telemetry devices and anti-predator assessments including Giving Up Densities (GUDs) and anti-predator response experimental trials. We will also opportunistically collect faecal samples and dead bandicoots.
Fate of animals:
The camera study is non-invasive and animals are not captured or held. All trapped animals will be released at point of capture on completion of data collection, which will be after about 10 minutes handling time for regular trapping and no more than 30 minutes if a tracking device is fitted. We anticipate that all telemetry devices will either be removed at re-trapping 4 weeks later or will fall off the animals. The predator response experiments present stimuli and situations to bandicoots in the field, which they are free to move away from at any time.
Likely impact on species involved (including any by-catch):
Camera trapping and trapping methods hold zero to minimal impact to the animals and should have no adverse long-term effects.