Mainland bandicoots, which have declined far more dramatically than on Tasmania, have been brought back from the brink of extinction by an intensive captive breeding and re-introduction programme (3). Captive breeding was first carried out at the Serendip Wildlife Research Station in 1972, although primarily for research purposes rather than breeding for reintroductions (7). At the same time, local conservation actions were initiated at Hamilton, the focus of the remaining population (1). The Serendip captive colony closed down by 1979 but, in 1988, another captive colony was established in large pens at Woodlands Historic Park, and an intensive captive breeding programme was carried out to produce offspring for release into the nature reserve. In 1992, the Zoological Parks and Gardens Board of Victoria assumed responsibility for captive breeding (7). Captive-bred individuals from here have since been released at seven reintroduction sites (7), including two protected by fox proof fences at Hamilton Community Parklands and Woodlands Historic Park, three released into the wild at ‘Mooramong’ near Skipton, Lake Goldsmith Wildlife Reserve near Beaufort and Floating Islands Nature Reserve near Colac, and one on a private property ‘Lanark’ at Branxholme (8). As a result of these efforts, there is now a total population of around 2000 individuals (3). Despite concentrated predator control efforts at Floating Islands and Lake Goldsmith, the populations at these sites have struggled and are now considered lost completely from Floating Islands (8). A studbook has also been established to manage the genetic stability of the captive population (7).
Although the population in Tasmania is still relatively secure, evidence of declines prompted the federal government to fund a recovery programme, and management now focuses on habitat improvement and control of feral and domestic cats. Fortunately, Tasmania has no red foxes, and native carnivorous marsupials do not pose a significant threat (1).