An ambitious project is seeking to transform a section of farmland in the middle of Cobboboonee National Park into a private conservation and safehaven for three threatened marsupial species.
The southern brown bandicoot, long-nosed potoroo and eastern quoll were once commonly found in south-west Victoria but have suffered major declines since foxes were released in the late 1800s, with many now extinct in the wild.
Nature Glenelg managing director Mark Bachmann said a new, volunteer-run project was aimed at reversing that trend.
"The project is about taking this area of farmland in the middle of the park and bringing back its missing environmental values," he said.
"As well as restoring the tussock grassland vegetation that used to occur on the property, its location presents the opportunity to do something really special with some of the our threatened species of marsupials."
Mr Bachmann said the tricky part was working out how to relocate the species to the site.
"A number of different options exist and include seeking access to animals from the wild, or working with other private safe haven or sanctuary managers to source semi-wild animals from these areas," he said.
"The goal will be to make sure we have animals of the appropriate genetics for eventual integration into the large natural landscape surrounding the safe haven."
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He said the first step was already underway.
"To allow us to work specifically with some of the threatened mammals, we recently received a grant to build a predator-proof fence around the property," Mr Bachmann said.
"The fence will be constructed over the coming summer and autumn, and will be important progress. At the same time, while that initial work is going on and thanks to the support of public donations, we have been gradually paying off the loan that was taken out to cover the land purchase costs.
"A project like this does take quite a bit of time and planning, but it is great to be underway and we have an exciting few years ahead."
It's believed the project will take five years to complete, with the next steps being to commence monitoring the project's values, restoring the original sedgeland or grassland habitat.
"Once the animals are brought back, the monitoring will continue to see how things change and improve over time, both inside and outside the fence," he said.
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