SYDNEY, Nov. 17 (Xinhua) -- A major drought nearly two decades ago could be behind a widespread move by native wildlife in Australia's island state Tasmania toward suburban areas, according to latest research.
The animals were being spotted in places where there were no sightings before the year 2000, local media quoted University of Tasmania researcher Menna Jones as saying on Saturday.
"We all know possums live in the suburbs, but are amazed at how many other wildlife species appear to be quite at home living in the suburbs far from the bush," the researcher told the ABC news channel.
The dry spell in 2000 sparked a change in the animals' behavior, pushing them closer to suburban water sources, she said.
The findings were part of a research project that included residents in state capital Hobart earlier this year allowing high-tech cameras to be installed on their properties, where Tasmanian devils, quolls, bandicoots and other native animals were tracked, with many of them living up to 2 kilometers from forested areas, the channel reported.
Wallabies, eastern barred bandicoots, pademelons and brushtail possums were some of the wildlife reported living closest to the city, according to the findings.
Three hundred Hobart residents also filled out surveys describing the animals in and around their backyards.
The "citizen scientists" did a stellar job helping to track the approaching wildlife, the researcher said.