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New 'floppy top' fence to protect endangered bandicoots

Eastern barred bandicoots and other endangered species will be better protected from foxes and cats by a predator-proof fence with a floppy top.

The $500,000 Hamilton Sanctuary fence upgrade has been completed and includes a "floppy top" to prevent predators such as cats and foxes from entering the site.

The 107-hectare area is one of four predator-free fenced sites in Victoria with eastern barred bandicoots.

Fat-tailed dunnarts - a mouse-like marsupial - and rock wallabies also call the parklands home, as do other animals when displaced by bushfires.

Victorian Environment Minister Ingrid Stitt said the upgraded fence would keep these endangered and threatened creatures safe from predators, encouraging population growth.

In 2021, the threatened-species status of the eastern barred bandicoot was downgraded from "extinct in the wild" to "endangered" in an Australian first.

The nocturnal species had previously been common across southwest Victoria's grassy plains but its population was decimated by foxes, cats and habitat destruction.

The few left in the wild were confined to an area near Hamilton before a breeding and recovery program brought the species back from the brink of extinction.

A national recovery plan has set a long-term target to establish 2500 or more eastern barred bandicoots across four genetically diverse, spatially independent, self-sustaining reintroduced populations on Australia's mainland.