Help save our threatened species…
before it’s too late
The story of the Mountain Pygmy-possum shows what can be achieved when our laws work and people step up for our native species!
THE SITUATION: The Mountain Pygmy-possum was thought to be extinct until one was miraculously discovered in a ski lodge at Mt Hotham in 1966. It is ground dwelling, lives above the snow line in the Australian Alps, and is the only Australian marsupial that hibernates. There are now three known populations at Mt Hotham, Mt Buller and in Kosciusko National Park in NSW.
THE ACTION: The Mt Buller population had been in dire straits and in 2009 was down to around 30 Pygmy-possums. The main reasons were habitat destruction, ski field development and feral predators. Genetic diversity was very low and they seemed to be suffering from in-breeding. This is when scientists from La Trobe University took the bold step of introducing males from the nearby but genetically distinct Mt Hotham population, and the results have been dramatic. By 2014 the population had tripled!
THE WIN: The Mountain Pygmy-possum is still at risk, but this innovative genetic transfer means the Mt Buller population is no longer on the brink of extinction.