I think he should be called a bandi-cute. For sure!
Scientists adapt ‘coot cam to track endangered marsupial
- March 5, 2013
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Trying to understand the cryptic behaviour of the critically endangered eastern barred bandicoot has always been a challenge. The marsupial’s nocturnal nature and small size makes it difficult to study.
Enter ‘coot cam: CCTV monitoring of the tiny bandicoot which Melbourne Zoo is using to test the animal’s reaction to wearing a new kind of radio transmitter.
It has been difficult to attach the devices because of the bandicoot’s size and body shape. The bandicoots weigh about 700 grams, so radio transmitters need to be small and light. And without much of a neck, wearing a collar is tricky. Zoos Victoria biologist Dan Harley said tail-mounted transmitters had also proven unsuitable.
Now zoo staff are trying a new approach. The first two of six bandicoots have had transmitters attached to the fur between their shoulder blades with veterinary glue. The aerial of the transmitter has reflective tape, allowing it to be picked up by the infra-red camera that runs overnight.
”We’re interested to see if their behaviour changes with the transmitter on,” said wildlife conservation officer Michelle Cooper. ”So we’re monitoring how much time they spend feeding, grooming and nest building. It’s early days but so far it looks good.
”Part of setting up these cameras is to study their behaviour more, as there are still basic behavioural questions that we need to answer.”
The zoo will also test a transmitter attached to a fitted harness to establish what bandicoots prefer. The transmitters are programmed to identify individual animals, which will help researchers learn how they disperse.
The marsupials are effectively extinct in the wild. There are fewer than 400 over three fenced sites in Hamilton in western Victoria, Mount Rothwell in the You Yangs and at Werribee Open Range Zoo.