It is not often that you see a photograph of a cute little marsupial in @AuManufacturing’s news pages.
But this little fella, a ground-dwelling marsupial a Golden Bandicoot, has been the beneficiary of a huge conservation project in outback New South Wales featuring Australian-made fencing.
For over 100 years the InfraBuild Newcastle site at Mayfield, NSW has been supporting the agriculture industry through the production of fencing products, but more recently it has taken up the cause of some of our most endangered and vulnerable native animals.
The company has produced specialist fencing for the Wild Deserts rewilding project, creating two large exclusion enclosures, or ‘exclosures’, in the north-west corner of the state in the Sturt National Park.
The massive enclosures measure four kilometres by five kilometres, and InfraBuild’s specialised fencing, installed in October 2018, runs 40 kilometres around both sites.
According to the company: “The fencing keeps protected species safely inside the enclosure and keeps pest species such as rabbits, feral cats and foxes out.
“It is also resistant to damage by other native animals such as wombats and kangaroos that are large enough to easily breach most rural fence designs and leave gaps in which pest animals enter.”
Native species – some of which had been extinct in the area for over 100 years – have been slowly reintroduced including the Crested-tailed Mulgara (a relative of the Tasmanian devil), the Greater Bilby, and the Western-Barred Bandicoot, and in June 2022, a second species of bandicoot, the Golden Bandicoot (pictured).
All of these species are critical to a healthy desert ecosystem through their digging, which helps water to infiltrate the soil, collecting and distribution of seeds, and spreading and burying of leaf litter.
Currently the vulnerable mammals are learning to survive in the landscape without the danger of predators, however when their population grows, they will be moved into a new area with limited predators.
In more good news the Golden Bandicoots have been breeding rapidly, and the first babies in 100 years have been born in the park.
The Wild Desert project is a partnership between the University of Sydney, Ecological Horizons, the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, and the Taronga Conservation Society Australia.
Picture: Golden Bandicoot