Bilby baby makes rare appearance on camera
Natural Resources Officers are thrilled to have recently sighted a young Greater bilby on a remote camera in the Venus Bay Conservation Park, on the Eyre Peninsula’s west coast.
Motion detected at night the two remote sensing camera photos show a young bilby at foot beside its mother. The sighting added fresh hope that although conditions are dry, the reintroduced Greater bilby (Macrotis lagotis) population is breeding behind the predator-proof fence.
Senior Natural Resources Officer Liz McTaggart said its always exciting to see what bilby antics are captured on the cameras, however, finding this young one amongst the hundreds of digital images was extra special.
“Young bilbies haven’t been captured on remote sensing cameras at Venus Bay Conservation Park before , even though we know they are out there in low but persisting numbers. The population here is starting to show itself to be a resilient community and we have some evidence of this from the cameras. In our most isolated locations remote sensing cameras are detecting bilbies and reintroduced Brush-tailed bettongs as well as feral cats using the same locations, and sometimes only minutes apart.”
Both bilbies and bettongs are highly vulnerable to being preyed on by feral cats and foxes.
Natural Resources Officer Libby Hunt says the young bilby known as a joey, in this image is likely to be around three to four months old.
“We know on average newborn bilby joeys, known as Neonates, are around the size of a bean and they stay suckling on a teat and growing in the safety of the bilby mother’s backwards facing pouch. Emerging from the pouch at around 11-12weeks, before weaning a couple of weeks later.
“Surviving to the adult breeding age of six months is still a massive accomplishment for a bilby joey. Joey’s have to successfully learn to identify and avoid being sighted or captured by predators, such as feral cats, foxes and owls. They also have to learn how to search for food, digging and foraging for small insects, larvae, seeds, spiders, bulbs, fruits and fungi in order to survive.” Libby said.
Ongoing park management actions which include feral cat management within the predator-proof fenced area, feral cat and fox control on the outside of the fence, regular fence maintenance and crucial total grazing pressure control (including control of European rabbit) are all part of the additional threatened species recovery actions undertaken by dedicated volunteer Campground Hosts and staff.
For more information on the wildlife of Venus Bay Conservation Park visit: www.landscape.sa.gov.au/ep/projects-and-partners/NatureLinks-TAG