Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Endangered

I saw one of these last night. It crossed the road in front of my car on my way home from the ju-jitsu class. I stopped the car and waited for it to cross. It posed in the headlights very nicely, and the boys in the car with me were duly impressed.






The beastie in question is an Eastern Barred Bandicoot, one of Australia's threatened/endangered mammal species. I was really pleased to see it, and it was cute as all hell.

Unfortunately, it's probably in real trouble even here in Tasmania. With the Facial Tumour Disease wiping out the Tasmanian Devils in our area, I see more and more feral cats haunting the forests and roadsides around here. Feral cats are savage, deadly hunters, and though an adult bandicoot is a hefty little bugger -- the size of a very large, well-fed rabbit -- the young are quite vulnerable.

I like cats. But they don't belong here. Bandicoots do. I hope they can hang around.

Heh. I just noticed: the autospellcheck on this blogging system doesn't know what a bandicoot is. Ignorant shit of a thing!

9 comments:

  1. Good save.

    ABCs Catalyst recently highlighted the work of Dr Alistair Hobday adn appearantly Tasmania is the roadkill capital of the world. The top ten victims of cars and speed at night are the Tasmanian pademelon, Bennett's wallaby, the Eastern barred bandicoot, the Eastern quoll, and the Tassie devil.

    Once on the road its the brightness of the animal that most governs wether it gets hit or not and the speed of the car.

    http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/3198257.htm

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  2. Mr B: I do my best to avoid animals on the road. Even Victorians. But it's true: Tassie has a buttload of roadkill.

    The leveling of forests, the addition of fruit trees and high-nutrition agricultural plants has allowed many of the species to breed all to hell and back. The wallabies, the possums and the pademelons are definitely not endangered... but they're REALLY FUCKIN' BAD at crossing roads.

    I don't often see dead bandicoots, devils, or quolls. Occasionally, though. On occasion, there are even dead wombats. It sucks.

    I will argue that it isn't just speed, though. Seriously: some of those fucking wallabies and possums are flat-out suicidal. There is NO other way to explain their behaviour.

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  3. You can live on em but they taste like shit.

    Seriously though, I had some very nice kangaroo crusted with pepperberries and sald at lunch today. Very nice.

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  4. I just figured that the reason they are endangered is because they are delicious. It happened to the moa and almost happened to the red abalone here in Northern California.

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  5. Actually -- wallaby and possum both are delicious. The 'roo on the mainland is a little gamy, and challenging to cook because like most game it's very low in fat. But the wallabies and possums around here are so disgustingly well-fed you can cook them pretty much any way you like.

    Personally, I prefer to kebab the possums over charcoal, with a nice marinade of chili, sweet soy, black pepper and vietnamese mint. The wallaby is best in a pie, with mushrooms and star anise.

    Yum.

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