A raccoon has made a comeback in the Australian bush after a 50-year absence, after a 40-year hiatus from the landscape.
The bird was first spotted in the ACT, New South Wales and Victoria in January, with reports of the songbird being a favorite of locals.
But the bird has returned to the heart of the ACT’s wild, where it has been spotted on some of the most remote and beautiful parts of the state, including in the Blue Mountains.
“It’s been amazing to see the return of this bird,” said biologist Matt Anderson, who has spent more than 50 years working in the region.
This time of year the birds’ numbers have been on the rise, but the new arrivals were welcomed by locals and conservationists alike.
“It really makes us think about how we’re using our land,” Mr Anderson said.
He said the birds are known for their territoriality and the ability to create a nest, which is what attracted them to the Blue Mountain in the first place.
Raccoons can reach up to 1.5 metres in length, with a wingspan of up to three metres.
Their nests have been known to have been constructed of sticks, and their diet includes small mammals, small birds and even fish.
There are currently around 2,000 raccoons living in the area, including around 500 in the Northern Territory.
Mr Anderson said they have not been seen since the 1950s, but they have been sighted in the past two years.
In his experience, the birds were able to return to the bush because of the cold temperatures and the abundant food available in the bush.
“When they get cold, the animals are going to do what they do, which we call the hibernation,” he said.
“And they’re very successful in this hibernation.”
Mr Anderson is currently tracking down the birds for the ACT Wildlife Management Authority to determine how they are doing.
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