Uncovering bandicoots in Sydney's Inner West

23 February 2016

Bandicoots can live in urban environments but the only sign of their passing may be a conical shaped hole in your lawn. A new online survey has been launched to collect information about a population of Long-nosed bandicoots in the inner west.

Dr Catherine Price, from the School of Life and Environmental Sciences, is part of a multi-agency team running a six-month community survey of inner west bandicoots. "We are collaborating with Transport for NSW, local councils and the Office of Environment and Heritage," she said.

In the inner west of Sydney, a small colony of Long-nosed Bandicoots has been discovered around the suburbs of Dulwich Hill, Lewisham and Petersham. The animals are often found in grassy areas during the night, and rest in dense vegetation or accessible spaces under buildings and houses during the day. The inner west bandicoot population has been declared as an endangered species under the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995.

Environment Minister Mark Speakman announced the survey last week and has urged Sydneysiders to help protect the endangered colony of Long-nosed Bandicoots. "We're seeking the help of the communities in the local government areas of Marrickville, Ashfield and Leichhardt to look out for signs that bandicoots are nearby and share the information with us," Mr Speakman said. The study will collect information about the inner west colony and raise the community's awareness of the existence of this endangered population. "We're asking residents to fill in our online survey and to visit the Facebook page to update us with sightings or signs of bandicoots."

Dr Price said, "We'll be looking at the survey results to target areas for further surveys and try to understand how a critical weight range mammal might be surviving in such a highly urbanised area." The team is also monitoring eight sites along the light rail line with motion-sensitive cameras to try and find out if Long-nosed Bandicoots are using these areas. "Some of the sites have had habitat enhancements added to them [piles of logs] as part of the light rail line expansion."

At the end of the study, a report will be published jointly by Transport for NSW and the University of Sydney to provide observational information about the local bandicoot population within the inner west as well as additional data from the remote cameras and community surveys.