This article is lifted from our intranet, at the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and the Environment, from October last year, for broader public enjoyment.
Mandy Smith from the Invasive Species Branch received a reminder of the importance of her work this week when she became the adopted parent of a baby bandicoot orphaned after an attack by a friend’s pet cat.
Little Banjo, as he is now known, was lucky to survive with only a few scratches on his back but his parents and siblings weren’t so lucky. The incident is a reminder of the threat that domestic cats pose to the wildlife in our suburbs.
Eastern barred bandicoots are small, nocturnal Australian marsupials that were once common in south-eastern Australia but have been driven to the brink of extinction on the mainland by introduced predators including foxes and feral cats. Tasmania is now the last stronghold for the species.
The natural habitat of Eastern barred bandicoots is grassland and grassy woodland but land clearing has meant that bandicoots have had to adapt and shift into urban areas to survive. They are now found in urban backyards (their presence being given away by cone-shaped feeding holes) and nearby bushland reserves.
However, life in the suburbs can be dangerous and bandicoots are exposed to a range of threats including cars, brush-cutters, mowers, dogs and (as in the case of Banjo’s family) domestic cats.
Banjo’s ordeal is a reminder that we should all be helping to look after the native animals around our suburbs and take responsibility to manage any impacts our domestic pets may be having. There are two simple things that cat owners can do:
- don’t let your cat roam off your property, have an outdoor cat run or keep it indoors
- make sure you confine your cat at night.
These two simple actions will that will help protect both your cat’s safety and our native wildlife from harm.
If you find an injured or sick wildlife, please call DPIPWE’s Injured and Orphaned Wildlife Program on 6233 6556 or Bonorong’s support line for injured and orphaned wildlife on 6268 1184 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week).
Mandy is currently organising her Wildlife Care Volunteer permit to make official her role as Banjo’s rehabilitator.