WILDLIFE

Tiny Pygmy Possum found on Kangaroo Island after Fears of Decimation in Bushfire

At the Australian Wildlife Conservancy’s (AWC) North Head Sanctuary, ecologists often perform checks to monitor the different species living on the land.

On one of these recent checks, researchers were thrilled to find a thumb-sized baby eastern pygmy possum.

But the good news didn’t stop there. The check ultimately revealed 11 new pygmy possums — an incredibly promising sign.

tiny possum

“The eastern pygmy possum is a threatened species,” Australian Wildlife Conservancy field ecologist Aiden Wright told The Dodo.

“Having a healthy population at the sanctuary is important for the conservation of this species, whilst also promoting the ecological health of the sanctuary.”

During this check, researchers also found four brown antechinus — small, mouse-like marsupials native to eastern Australia.

animal in blanket

Though this number might seem low, it was actually the most brown antechinus ecologists at the sanctuary have ever found during a single round of checks.

Both the eastern pygmy possum and brown antechinus were reintroduced to North Head Sanctuary in hopes that their presence would help the ecosystem thrive.

Though these animals are small, they play a huge role in their Australian home by helping to pollinate local plants.“ Eastern pygmy possums in particular are highly nectar dependent,” Wright said. “In the
search for their favorite food, they help to transfer pollen between flowers.

possum in blanket

In this way, these small mammal species promote the health of the Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub, which is a critically endangered ecological community found at North Head.”

mouse in hole

As for the brown antechinus, a species that was originally discovered at North Head but was periodically extinct in the area after certain predators were introduced, seeing these little guys thrive is a big deal.

“Knowing that this species is again calling the sanctuary home is an important achievement,” Wright said.

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