Happy Monday everyone! Today’s good news story is another one from down under. It comes as Australian wildlife ecologists were over the moon to find endemic pygmy possums on Kangaroo Island after it was subject to extreme wildfires earlier this year. It was feared that these super cute animals were completely wiped out, so this is great news! The survival of the possum on the South Australian island is a sign that wildlife escaped the almost 200,000 hectares that were burned by 2020’s bushfires.
The pygmy possums weigh just seven grams and have been recorded only 113 times officially by science. The world’s smaller possum, Cercartetus Lepidus, is found only on Kangaroo Island, Tasmania, and in very small numbers on the South Australian coast. Ecologist Pat Hodgens, working with Wildlife NGO, said: “the summer bushfires burnt through much of [the] habitat that species had, but we were certainly hopeful that we would find them. It’s very important now because it is kind of like the last refuge for a lot of these species that really rely on very old long, unburned vegetation.”
In mid-November, around 16 people from the NGO surveyed 20 sites, and found 200 different individual animals of over 20 different species, all which are native, and some of which are endangered. They included: southern brown bandicoots, western and little pygmy possums, brush-tailed possum, tammar wallabies, as well as amphibians like the eastern banjo frog, common froglet, painted frog, spotted grass frog, and Bibron’s toadlet.
Australia’s marsupials cannot be found anywhere else in the world, and they are subject to many invasive species through predation and competition for food. When you add destructive wildfires into the mix, their survival odds seem non-existent, but thankfully for these creatures, that was not the case!
Click HERE to read last week’s Good News Monday post.