A team of experts has installed custom-built food and water stations for the endangered mountain pygmy-possums in Kosciuszko National Park, which have been affected by the recent bushfires.
Environment Minister Matt Kean said that so far, 20 stations stocked with specially developed bogong biscuits have been installed at three possum sites within Kosciusko National Park. At these sites, remote cameras have also been installed to record possums at the feeders and drinkers.
“The biscuits were developed by Melbourne Zoo and baked by our Saving our Species team from a nutritionally-verified powder of natural ingredients, replicating the nutritional value of Bogong moths, one of the possums’ main foods,” Mr Kean said.
“The fires are still not contained in Kosciuszko National Park, with general park access still closed, so our threatened species officers led by Dr Linda Broome and assisted by NPWS fire crews, were the first to access the fire grounds to provide an emergency response for Mountain Pygmy-possums.
“The Dunns Road fire went through sites where we know the possums live, with reports that temperatures in those areas were close to 70 degrees, so the priority was getting access to these spots to check on the possums.”
Mr Kean said we’re hoping that the possums, which usually live under boulder fields, burrowed down to shelter from the fires. Although we don’t yet know the impact of the fires on the possum population, our teams are working to determine this as we get access to more areas within the park.
“We’re hoping that possums living at higher altitudes in the park weren’t impacted by the fires. Altogether, 50 feeder and 50 drinking stations have been built, stocked with 10 kilos of the nutritional bogong biscuits to provide emergency food and water to the possums,” Mr Kean said.