Supporting the recovery of the Mountain Pygmy-possum

Tuesday 1 December, 2020

Now that the cooler weather is behind us, the Mountain Pygmy-possum has woken up from hibernation and is going out in search of food. 

Each year, the Mountain Pygmy-possum hibernates for up to seven months, safely buried in the winter snow. It is the only Australian mammal that lives exclusively in alpine areas and the only hibernating marsupial in the world. 

Tucked away in the Alpine boulder fields, there are only three locations in the world where this critically endangered native species exists in the wild - the Mount Hotham/Mount Bogong and Mount Buller regions in Victoria, and Mount Kosciuszko in NSW.

This already restricted habitat is at risk of becoming even smaller due to the impacts of climate change. Feral cats and foxes also pose a direct threat to the tiny Mountain pygmy-possum through predation.

In the Alpine National Park, adjacent to Mountain Pygmy-possum habitat, Parks Victoria has been working with Mount Hotham and Falls Creek Alpine Resorts over a number of years to undertake fox and feral cat monitoring and trapping. Through this work we are reducing the threat of predation on Mountain Pygmy-possums and other native animals and improving the understanding of pest predators in this area.

Mountain Pygmy Possum on a person's arm

Mountain Pygmy-possum (Burramys parvus)

 

Because the Mountain Pygmy-possum is such a beloved and critically endangered species, many different groups are working together to better understand and protect the species.

This project is supported by North East Catchment Management Authority, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program and the Victorian Government’s Biodiversity Response Planning program.

Parks Victoria delivers this work as part of the Victorian Mountain Pygmy-possum Recovery Team, a voluntary collaboration of conservation organisations. Partners in implementation include DELWP, Saving our Species program – NSW Department of Planning Industry and Environment, Mt Hotham Alpine Resort Management Board, Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management Board, Falls Creek Alpine Resort Management Board, University of Melbourne, La Trobe University, Ecology Links, CESAR, Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority, North East Catchment Management Authority and Zoos Victoria.

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