While you’re busy wandering among the world’s tallest flowering plants, keep an eye out for the very tiny, and very, very endangered Leadbeater’s Possum.

While you’re busy wandering among the world’s tallest flowering plants (the mountain ash, see entry No.73) in Victoria’s highland forests, keep an eye out for the Leadbeater’s Possum. You’ll need to keep an incredibly sharp eye out, though, since these little fellas are nocturnal, hang out in the upper, upper reaches of extremely tall trees, are very tiny, and very, very endangered.

Named for Museum of Victoria taxidermist John Leadbeater, the diminutive marsupial is another great example of the Lazarus effect in action, whereby a species once thought extinct is rediscovered – in this case, in 1961 in the Upper Yarra Valley near pretty Marysville. A decade later, the possum was officially made the faunal emblem of Victoria.

The last remaining Leadbeater’s Possum in captivity anywhere in the world died in 2006, which has prompted the reformation of the Friends of Leadbeater’s Possum society to further its survival and protection.

Where // Northeast of Melbourne in the mountain ash forests of the Victorian highlands. Offers of assistance to the Friends of Leadbeater’s Possum are welcomed through the Threatened Species Network via www.wwf.org.au

Did you know? // The female Leadbeater’s Possum is the aggressor of the species, with the mother forcing young possums – daughters in particular – from the nest at about ten months of age.

 

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