Shh! Have you seen a forest fairy?
Not many people have – the Leadbeater’s Possum Gymnobelideus leadbeateri is small, speedy and endangered.
Less than a hand-span in length, Leadbeater’s Possums live in the forests not far from Melbourne. They sleep with their families in hollow trees during the day and run through the understorey at night, hunting for insects and sweet nectar.
Despite their appearance, Leadbeater's Possums are quite cranky fairies: each family fiercely defends its territory from other possums. They call to each other with a hissing ‘ts-ts-ts’ and use their club-shaped tails to carry bark to build their nests.
Unfortunately these unique animals are threatened due to:
Once thought to be extinct, Leadbeater's Possum was rediscovered in 1961 and became Victoria's faunal emblem.
Zoos Victoria is working to change the fate of threatened species and is committed to Fighting Extinction – we will ensure that no more Victorian terrestrial vertebrate species become extinct. The continuing story of the Leadbeater’s Possum is symbolic of Zoos Victoria's commitment to saving our local fauna.
Want to fight extinction with us? There are many ways you can help save Leadbeater's Possums and other threatened species:
This is an indicative distribution map of the present distribution of the species based on best available knowledge. This map may not be accurate to the latest information.
Harley, D. 2013. The application of Zoos Victoria’s ‘Fighting Extinction’ commitment to the conservation of Leadbeater’s Possum Gymnobelideus leadbeateri. The Victorian Naturalist. Vol 129 (5): 175-180
Together we can improve animal care, reduce threatening processes and save endangered species.
Our Victorian state animal emblem, the Leadbeater’s Possum was thought to be extinct until found in the central highlands of Victoria. You can help us fight extinction by adopting the Leadbeater's Possum.