The last three known remaining Leadbeater's Possums from Lake Mountain have been rescued and safely delivered to Healesville Sanctuary following ongoing concern for their survival.
One female and two young males were located by members of the multi-agency Leadbeater's Possum Recovery Team last week. This follows a huge effort by volunteers from the Friends of the Leadbeaters group and directed by Parks Victoria who braved weather extremes over the past three winters to feed, monitor and ensure their survival.
Despite extensive efforts, evidence strongly indicated that there was little chance of the remaining three Leadbeater's Possums being able to continue to survive and that they could not be founders of a new colony.
An extensive search of the Lake Mountain area confirmed only three possums remained from a colony of an estimated 300 plus population before the devastating 2009 bushfires.
The Leadbeater's Possums will be cared for by the experts from the Threatened Species team at Healesville Sanctuary.
Healesville Sanctuary Director Glen Holland said the possums were settling in beautifully.
"They were checked by our veterinary team on arrival and, on the following morning and since, have been found all snuggled up together in the same nesting box. We've been monitoring them closely and nocturnal video footage shows them eating well and exploring their new environment," Mr Holland said.
"Conservation interventions are never simple yet the welfare of the animals is always our highest priority. We are delighted to be playing such a critical role in fighting extinction of this amazing critical endangered species, Victoria's faunal emblem."
The threatened Leadbeater's Possum is unique to Victoria living nowhere else in the world, preferring to live in hollows within old growth Mountain Ash in the Central highlands.
The Leadbeater Possum Recovery Team is a multi agency team made up of DSE, Parks Victoria,Zoos Victoria and Friends of Leadbeater's Possum.
Keep up with the latest news on our Leadbeaters Possums at our Keeper Blog.