LEADBEATER’S POSSUM AWARENESS WEEK
31st March ~ 6th April 2014
The endangered Leadbeater’s Possum also known as the Fairy Possum, is an Australian threatened species. These tiny marsupials are only found in the central highland old growth mountain ash forests of Victoria, Australia. The Leadbeater’s Possum was rediscovered in Australia on the 3rd April 1961, after 50 years of being presumed extinct. Their population dropped below 1000 since the disastrous Black Saturday Bushfires in 2009 swept through their only known bushland habitat, around Marysville, Narbethong and Healesville. Logging in these areas is also another threat to the future of the Leadbeater’s Possum.
Leadbeater’s Possum (Gymnobelideus leadbeateri) species was named after John Leadbeater the then taxidermist at the Museum of Victoria. In 1968, the State of Victoria made Leadbeater’s possum its faunal emblem.
Act Wild for Leadbeater’s Possums YouTube video: Dan Harley a Threatened Species Biologist from www.ActWild.org.au expalins the unique endangered Leadbeater’s Possum aka the Forest Fairy, and shows how fast, agile, and super-cute they are…
The Leadbeater’s Possum was adopted as the State of Victoria’s faunal emblem, and has been featured on several Australian stamps. See the 1981 & 1996 (& 2009 Reprint) stamp issues.
LEADBEATER’S POSSUM iN THE NEWS:
- The AGE: Extinction alarm raised for possum (17th December 2012)
- The AGE: A state of extinction? (7th December 2012)
- The AUSTRALiAN: Photo ups ante in fight to save endangered possum (4th December 2012)
- The AGE: Making himself extinct: ‘absolute disgrace’ prompts Leadbeater’s possum scientist to quit (12th September 2012)
- HERALD SUN: Lunar’s Secret Forest comes alive (20th June 2012)
- ABC: Captive breeding program for endangered Leadbeater’s possum (22 May 2012)
- The SYDNEY MORNiNG HERALD: Leadbeater’s possum faces ‘managed extinction’ without action (27th March 2012)
- The AGE: Possum activists lose logging fight (15th March 2012)
- HERALD SUN: Loggers get free range of possums’ habitats to harvest timber in Victoria’s central highlands (14th March 2012)
- ABC NEWS: Endangered possums taken to wildlife sanctuary(13 February 2012)
- The AGE: Hello, possums! Breed saved from extinction 50 years on (25th March 2011)
- The AUSTRALiAN: A million native animals may have died in Victorian bushfires(11 February 2009)
Richard Di Natale on the threat to Victoria’s Leadbeater’s Possums YouTube video: (Published on the 20th November 2012) Senator Di Natale an Australian politician and member of the Victorian Greens speaks to Parliament of deep concerns regarding the future of the Leadbeater’s Possum, and the Victorian Government’s environmental regulation that is not working. He also explains how this species is on a trajectory to rapid extinction, requesting safeguarding of our natural heritage for the long term, rather than coming second to the short-term benefits of rapid development and exploitation. See more at www.GreensMps.org.au/leadbeaters & Senator Richard Di Natale Facebook Page
Leadbeater’s Possum artworks by award winning wildlife artist Liz Cogley: You can HELP the Leadbeater’s Possums by purchasing one or 2 of the beautiful painting prints by Liz Cogley here, which are high quality stretched canvas prints. See below “Victoria’s Magical Emblem” (two possums), Limited Edition, 55 x 33.5cm: RRP $280, member price $225
Leadbeater’s Possum Clips YouTube video: (Uploaded on the 16th December 2007) See some film clips of Leadbeater’s Possums doing what they do courtesy of www.arkive.org. You can also see more about Leadbeater’s and other possums at www.PossumPlanet.com.
HiSTORY of LEADBEATER’S POSSUM: The Leadbeater’s Possum was not discovered until 1867 and was originally known through only 5 specimens, with the last one collected in 1909. The fear that it might be extinct from that time on gradually grew after the swamps and wetlands in Australia, especially around Bass River in south-west Gippsland were drained for farming in the early 1900s. But, on the 3rd April in 1961, a member of the species was rediscovered by naturalist Eric Wilkinson, and the 1st specimen in more than 50 years was captured later in the month.
In 1965, a colony of Leadbeater’s Possums was discovered near Marysville, Victoria. Extensive searches since then have also found existing population in the highlands. A fairly healthy population of the Leadbeater’s Possums were lost in the horrific Black Friday Bushfires that swept through Victoria in 1939, after the combination of 40 years of old regrowth for food, and large dead trees left still standing after the fires for shelter and nesting, which allowed the Leadbeater’s Possum population to expand to about 7500 in the early 1980s. Their population since then declined to 2000 prior to the disastruos Black Saturday Bushfires of 2009, which destroyed large areas of bushland around Marysville, Narbethong and Healesville, resulting in a population of less than 1000 Leadbeater’s Possums in 2013.
In 1968, the State of Victoria made Leadbeater’s possum its faunal emblem. Read more here.
Lost & Found:The Rediscovery of Leadbeater’s Possum YouTube video: (Uploaded on the 4th April 2011 by MuseumVictoria.com.au) Thought extinct for decades, Victoria’s state emblem, the tiny Leadbeater’s Possum, was rediscovered in 1961 by Eric Wilkinson. Here’s the remarkable story…
For more information on Leadbeater’s Possum (aka Gymnobelideus leadbeateri) visit Edge of Existence and the Australian Government Environment Department’s Leadbeater’s Possum Recovery Plan
Please visit and help the endangered Leadbeater’s Possums at www.Leadbeaters.org.au