THE bandicoots living in a predator-proof section of the Woodlands Historic Reserve north of Melbourne, Australia, have declined from 600 to about 20 over the past two years, largely due to over-grazing by an out-of-control population of kangaroos. Animal Hberationists and the state government have been blamed for causing the virtual extinction of the last viable wild population of the eastern barred bandicoot, one of Australia's most endangered animals.
Peter Myroniuk, the species management officer at Melbourne Zoo, says the bandicoots are now fundamentally extinct in the wild. He blames Parks Victoria for mismanaging the eastern grey kangaroo population in the reserve and a campaign by Animal Liberation, which had opposed culling and had been feeding the kangaroos during the recent drought, allowing them to continue to multipiy.
"Animal Liberation was placing advertisements in the local papers calling for people to feed the kangaroos," Myroniuk says. "The bandicoots are a grasslands animal, but the kangaroos ate away all their shelter and allowed them to be picked off by birds of prey."
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