Critically-Endangered Mountain Pygmy-Possums Receive Emergency Support

WildArk, along with our partners Aussie Ark, and Global Wildlife Conservation have awarded $15,800 to Zoos Victoria for their project ‘Supplementary feeding techniques and health analyses for the emergency support of the critically endangered Mountain Pygmy-possum’, as part of the Australian Endangered Species Recovery Grants.

The Critically Endangered Mountain Pygmy-possum was handed a huge blow during the 2019 – 2020 bushfire season. Temperatures in affected boulder fields reached over 70 degrees and, in some areas of NSW, burnt their food and water sources. This coupled with the fact that in 2017 and 2018 billions of Bogong moths, a vital food source for the critically-endangered possum, that migrate annually to Victoria and NSW’s alpine areas largely failed to arrive, have left the possums in a vulnerable state, in need of urgent attention.

In response, Zoos Victoria successfully developed a new nutritionally suitable food source, Bogong Bikkies, which were trialed in the wild in 2019. This new project continues from that work. The team, led by Reproductive Biologist Dr. Marissa Parrott, will use these funds to investigate possum health. It will also determine the best techniques to deliver bikkies to possums in large, fragile, or remote locations using a walk-and-drop method, machine scatter equipment, drone, and helicopter drops.

Knowledge gained from this research will help determine the feasibility, cost, and outcomes of different supplementary feeding techniques and whether these can be modified, refined, or scaled up in response to catastrophes such as the 2020 bushfires.

The Australian Endangered Species Recovery Grant is part of the Koala Comeback Campaign. It aims to provide funding for organisations carrying out research projects that quantify the bushfire’s impact on Australia’s threatened species and identify urgent needs that exist for wildlife living in fire-affected areas.

Ten exceptional projects, including this one, will be awarded grants of up to $16,000 for their outcomes-based research that has measurable outcomes in the next 12 months. Much of this research includes species population surveys, protecting unburnt habitat, or implementing other critical interventions identified by species experts.

Thanks to generous donations, the #KoalaComeback campaign, a partnership between WildArk, Global Wildlife Conservation, and David Yarrow Photography, has supported many organisations working on the frontlines bushfire recovery and habitat protection in the wake of the 201991-2020 bushfires.

Read more about the Australian Endangered Species Recovery Fund HERE.