CANBERRA, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) -- A rare bandicoot has been spotted on public land in South Australia (SA) for the first time since 1983.
The endangered southern brown bandicoot is naturally an elusive and shy creature, making sightings extremely rare.
However, a motion sensing camera has captured footage of one of the bandicoots in Kuitpo Forest, 40 km south of Adelaide.
Lennan Whiting, a forest ranger, said it is the first confirmed sighting of a southern brown bandicoot in the forest in almost four decades.
"This is the first visual confirmation of the bandicoot within Forestry SA land since the Ash Wednesday fires in 1983," Whiting told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) on Thursday.
The Ash Wednesday fires, which began on Feb. 16 1983, were among the worst bush fires in Australian history, killing 28 people in SA and 47 in Victoria.
The cameras were set up in the area after rangers found evidence that the species was present late in 2017.
Ecologist Elisa Sparrow said the sighting occurred in an area where blackberry bushes were present, offering the bandicoot protection from predators.
"The sighting took place in native remnant vegetation well suited to bandicoots -- stringybark woodland with a dense understorey of mainly bracken and yaccas," she said.
"(Blackberry bushes) are also a declared weed. For this reason blackberry removal must be staged and strategic.
"Areas of dense native understorey need to be in place as alternative habitat before blackberry is taken out."
Once common, the southern brown bandicoot has been preyed upon by feral animals and pet cats.
It is estimated that 50 percent of the bandicoots are killed by predators before they reach maturity.
The marsupial now only exists in forests around Adelaide and on Kangaroo Island.
Volunteers in 2016 created a wildlife corridor across 19 properties between national parks in the Adelaide Hills to support the bandicoots.