Call of the wild

Brandon Hallas holds an eastern barred bandicoot joey. (Supplied)

By Luke Voogt

Two Lara born-and-bred bandicoots have joined a quest to reintroduce their species – extinct in the wild – to Victoria.

Serendip Sanctuary ranger Brandon Hallas, pictured, helped look after the joeys, a male and female, at the wildlife park for several months.

“I’m pretty privileged to work at a site like this,” the 26-year-old said.

“The female was a lot more jumpy and flighty. The male was a bit more relaxed – every time we caught him he was happy to be taken into the bag and have his health checked.”

Only about 1000 eastern barred bandicoots remain in captivity, with none left in the wild, according to Brandon.

But last Wednesday he joined rangers from across Victoria releasing 20, including the Lara pair, at the Grampians under the watchful eye of two specially-trained protection dogs.

“It’s bitter-sweet. We spent a lot of time raising and caring for those animals,” he said.

“But hopefully the next time you see the eastern barred bandicoot, you’ll see it in the wild.”