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Wombats, wallabies and echidnas have taken over the Royal Botanic Gardens

With human visitors gone, wilder guests are enjoying the gardens.

Cassidy Knowlton

Both the Royal Botanic Gardens in the CBD and Cranbourne are closed at the moment, but that does not mean they are empty.  

Animals like wallabies (like the ones above having a blue in the car park), birds, frogs, wombats and echidnas have been spotted in the suburban gardens in Cranbourne, enjoying the paths, lawns, car park and even the visitor centre. The only urban population of southern brown bandicoots, a famously shy species, have even been found enjoying the human-free gardens.  

Bandicoot in Royal Botanic Gardens
Photograph: Supplied

“It has been fascinating to see the wildlife living within the bushland explore their surrounds a little further than they usually would,” says environmental systems manager Ricardo Simao. “Just this week we had a wombat visit the office window and a bandicoot turn up to the visitor centre, and we've also seen more birds of prey like eagles flying lower in the public areas.” 

Echidna fighting in Royal Botanic Gardens
Photograph: Alex Smart

The Royal Botanic Gardens in Cranbourne comprises 363 hectares of native bushland, animals and fauna, an oasis among the high-density housing of surrounding Cranbourne. 

Koala in Royal Botanic Gardens
Photograph: Supplied

Staff have been using the unexpected break from visitors to spruce up the place, planting thousands of plants, starting a tree management program and freshening up display gardens. 

You can take a virtual tour of the CBD Royal Botanic Gardens and see if you spot any cheeky visitors

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