February 2012: Manly Bandicoots under Threat

 
Manly's bandicoot population is under attack with an increasing number being killed by cars and cats over the past year, according to the Australian Wildlife Conservancy.

While the majority of the long-nosed marsupials live in North Head's national park, a significant number make their homes in Eastern Hill backyards.

That's why the wildlife group is  asking for traffic calming measures, such as speed humps on Darley Rd, Addison Rd and Marshall St.

Meanwhile North Head’s Q Station general manager Zac Hope is doing his bit by asking his suppliers to make sure drivers stick to the speed limit. 

While cars are a constant threat, domestic cats are another major concern.

Rachel Maitland, research and learning co-ordinator of environmental group Earthwatch, said the two problems had combined to cut Manly's bandicoot population to little more than 100.

 “Bandicoots haven’t evolved to defend against predators", Ms Maitland said. "So when cats come near them, they freeze.” 

She said the bandicoot population has been declining over the long term and locals should do what they could to preserve them, such as driving carefully and keeping cats indoors at night. 

“It’s quite unique that an endangered population can be found this close to civilisation,” Ms Maitland said.

Manly Council is considering a project to alert residents to the bandicoots' plight and the need for action.

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