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Rare footage of endangered possum

April 15, 2013

Leadbeater's Possum

Leadbeater’s Possum

Last week Trent, a Flowerdale resident and passionate campaigner against logging of threatened species habitat, took us on a tour of some of his favourite spots in the Mountain Ash forests near Toolangi. After walking through some wonderful tree-fern gullies, we quietly settled ourselves in near a large dead tree trunk (stag) just on dusk. It was not long before a Mountain Brushtail Possum was revealed by Trent’s head-torch, clinging to a hollow spout near the top of the stag. Almost immediately a rustling of branches alerted us to a Common Ringtail Possum right above us.
Common Ringtail Possum

Common Ringtail Possum

Then, a short while later, Trent’s excited whisper indicated what we had hoped for, but not really expected – a Leadbeater’s Possum (Gymnobelideus leadbeateri) in the glow of our torches, leaping and scampering through the tangled undergrowth.

Trent was able to record this rare sighting in the video below. [This is quite a large file, but is well worth a look – you may need to stop the video and let it it load before playing right through.]
 
 

 
This amazing little possum shares the role of Victoria’s faunal emblem with the critically endangered Helmeted Honeyeater and is the State’s only endemic mammal. Its numbers have declined drastically in recent years, particularly after the Black Saturday fires. Conservationists and wildlife researchers warn that the Leadbeater’s Possum is being pushed towards extinction by the loss of suitable habitat containing large hollow-bearing trees vital for nesting – a situation exacerbated by fire and by logging within its limited range in the Central Highlands. Being unable to glide, the Leadbeater’s Possum needs a dense interwoven understorey to facilitate travel by running, leaping and climbing, as seen in the video.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. April 15, 2013 8:03 am

    Fantastic video, I’m amazed that the Leadbeaters possum stayed around long enough to get that much footage. Is this animal in one of the coups that is destined to be logged out? How much time does our State emblem have left here?

    • April 15, 2013 5:05 pm

      Not in one of the proposed coups, Steve, but not far away. In answer to your second question, not a lot if habitat continues to be destroyed or degraded!

  2. ccobern permalink
    April 15, 2013 3:56 pm

    Great footage fella’s, and well done Trent on all the time and effort you’ve been putting into helping protect these wonderful little creatures.
    Chris Cobern
    Landcare Coordinator
    Upper Goulburn Landcare Network

  3. April 15, 2013 11:12 pm

    Speachless…

    2 years I’ve been regularly camping out in that forest and never even heard a Gymnobelideus leadbeateri, let alone seen one and filmed it, but Trent is an amazing and stoic pillar in the search, fight and recovery of this precious little marsupial only found in the Central Highlands of Victoria and if anyone could capture this footage it would be Trent…

    Let us hope we find more and our childrens children get to enjoy knowing these wonderful members of Victorias faunal emblems are still alive and well in saved old growth and forest connectivity that Leadbeaters Possums are highly reliant on…

  4. Susie Russell permalink
    April 16, 2013 8:47 am

    Interesting that it didn’t seem bothered by the spotlight. What sort were you using? Did you have the direct beam focused away from it? Amazing clip… all those little jumps. Beautiful.

    • April 19, 2013 4:48 pm

      We just had LED head torches, Suzie, so not too powerful – Trent’s was attached to his camera. He actually first picked up the Leadbeater’s Possum on his thermal imaging camera.

  5. April 17, 2013 9:47 pm

    Fantastic video. The logging has to be ceased and those forests protected in perpetuity.

  6. Kerryn permalink
    April 23, 2013 7:42 pm

    Great work Trent, you are very resilient and clever ,well done

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