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Awareness for Mountain Pygmy-possum

By Justin Jenvey

Posted 22 September 2019

Hotham is iconic for several reasons - its unique terrain, world class snow and the fact that it is home to the Mountain Pygmy-possum.

Australia's only hibernating marsupial, the Mountain Pygmy-possum was thought to be extinct until it was rediscovered at Hotham during the 1960s.

Since than there has been ongoing work to ensure the critically endangered Mountain Pygmy-possums continues to survive.

The ‘Tunnel of Love’ has played a big part in this allowing male Mountain Pygmy-possums, who live down lower, a safe passage to cross the Great Alpine Road to breed with females who enjoy a habitat at higher altitude.

Another aspect key to the survival of the Mountain Pygmy-possum is their food source the Bogong Moth, and this is where Zoos Victoria have focused a recently launched awareness campaign.

Commencing on September 1 and running through to October 31, Zoos Victoria has called on everyday people and those working in high profile public buildings to turn off non-essential outside lights to assist Bogong Moths on their migration to alpine areas. 

Along with light pollution, Bogong moth numbers have already been severely impacted by several issues including climate change and droughts in their breeding grounds of southern Queensland, northern and central NSW, Victoria and South Australia.

Additionally, people can also contribute important information about Bogong Moth numbers and migration patterns through Zoos Victoria’s online Moth Tracker that can be found by going to www.swifft.net.au/mothtracker.

Zoos Victoria says awareness and data is essential to ensure that Bogong Moths have the best chance of successfully migrating to Mountain Pygmy-possum habitat.

Mount Hotham Alpine Resort Management Board is supporting the Zoos Victoria campaign.

“As the land manager we have a responsibility to preserve our alpine environment and the threatened species that live in it so we’re happy to see any bit of awareness for Mountain Pygmy-possums,” MHARMB Environmental Manger, Georgina Boardman said.

Georgina said each summer sees monitoring of Mountain-Pygmy-possum numbers however, the upcoming green season will include additional and supplementary monitoring.

“Summer is our chance to check in on the Mountain-Pygmy-possums and look into the amount of litter loss, if any, that might occur.”

Zoos Victoria has also committed to continue to put the Mountain Pygmy Possum up in lights over the coming months which is great news for our furry little friends living in the boulder fields across the resort.

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...we have a responsibility to preserve our alpine environment and the threatened species that live in it so we’re happy to see any bit of awareness for Mountain Pygmy-possums.

Georgina Boardman