EDGE /​7516 Views

In a major con­ser­va­tion win for the species, a male Moun­tain Pygmy-​possum has been born in the wild — the first with par­ents from each of the genet­i­cally dis­tinct Mt Buller and Mt Hotham pop­u­la­tions. In Octo­ber 2010, a team from DSE, Uni­ver­sity of Mel­bourne, Healesville Sanc­tu­ary tem­porar­ily re-​located 6 Mt Hotham males into the ter­ri­tory of females at Mt Buller dur­ing the breed­ing sea­son. The relo­ca­tion efforts were part of a recov­ery plan for the Moun­tain Pygmy-​possums, to com­bat their dras­tic decline in num­bers and fur­ther in-​breeding among the remain­ing pop­u­la­tion. The birth of ‘Lil Lou’, the prod­uct of the assisted love match between Mt Hotham male ‘White Stone’ and a female Mt Buller pos­sum was dis­cov­ered on a recent trap­ping visit to the Alpine region. Moun­tain Pygmy-​possums, one of Australia’s rarest mar­su­pi­als and listed as ‘Threat­ened — crit­i­cally endan­gered’ Vic­to­ria on the Flora and Fauna Guar­an­tee Act, have one breed­ing sea­son per year and can have up to four young at a time.

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