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probably more predator-aware than captive-bred animals. However, the
captive-bred animals were more successful at finding adequate food and
adapting to the arid environment. This was partly due to the very good
condition of the animals when they were translocated from the captive
breeding facilities, having sufficient body reserves to cope with the stress
of translocation and establishing new refuges. The Thistle Island animals
had difficulty in finding food in a foreign environment. These findings
reinforce the belief that translocations have a greater chance of success if
founder animals are taken from the wild to similar environments.
Recent trapping surveys have identified a number of new sub-
adult bilbies and brushtail possums with no identifying tags (so called
‘cleanskins’). These animals were either pouch young when the mothers
were translocated, or were conceived and born at Lorna Glen. The
bilbies can produce up to six young a year in good seasons. The brushtail
possums, which breed seasonally, have successfully raised a generation of
young that are now independent and producing their own young.
A proportion of the animals were screened for general health and
parasites. These checks are ongoing and animals are re-sampled whenever
they are captured. Preliminary results have shown that the animals
reintroduced to Lorna Glen are generally in good health and a new species
of trypanosoma (blood parasite) has been found in a brushtail possum.
Work is ongoing into the strains of giardia associated with possums and
bilbies, and the team will soon begin looking for other intestinal parasites,
including cryptosporidium and blastocystis.
Unfortunately, the mala translocations have not been as successful.
Nearly half of the radio-collared mala succumbed to predation by the few
remaining cats. When this was combined with deaths from other causes,
such as native predators (wedge-tailed eagles and large goannas) and
inability to find sufficient food, the mala were not able to establish.
RIGHT Golden bandicoots have been returned to the area.
BELOW Mala reintroductions were less successful.
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