Little Pygmy-possum, Matilda
As spring weather warms Victoria’s Little Desert, Little Pygmy-possums and other native animals are becoming more active, making this a perfect time to undertake wildlife monitoring for our Rewilding the Desert initiative. Wildlife monitoring is the most effective way to get a clear picture of the state of the desert ecosystem and the species that live in it.
Using humane catch and release methods and supervised by our experienced ecologists, our volunteer citizen scientists have been counting, measuring, recording and safely releasing mammals, reptiles and invertebrates, and recording data on vegetation, soils and habitat. This year’s trapping program has brought us another delight, this Little Pygmy Possum (pictured above) we nicknamed Matilda! Although Matilda is nocturnal and looks like she is asleep, she is actually in torpor; a type of short term hibernation. Matilda uses torpor to conserve energy when it’s too cold outside or there is a shortage of food. Weighing in at only 4.5 grams (about the same as a dice), Matilda forages mainly on nectar and pollen from flowering plants - one of her favourites is the big bright banksia flowers like this Desert Banksia pictured below.
In other news, we are still preparing for our trial reintroduction planned for this time next year, but there is still much more work to be done. Before reintroductions begin, we need to make some critical upgrades to our external predator proof fences and improve our captive breeding and wildlife display facilities to have the capacity to acquire, house and breed these rare native animals. To make this happen we need your support to buy rolls of wire, netting, fence pins, posts and screws! Please consider sharing our story with your family and friends to help us achieve our goals and provide a wild future for our much loved native animals, like Matilda.
We’d like to say thank you again to our amazing supporters and donors! Without your support we cannot continue this critical project and help conserve Australia’s weird, wonderful and highly threatened native wildlife.
Matilda returning home
Volunteers checking pitfall traps