The Pookila (formerly known as the New Holland Mouse) is classified as extinct in seven out of 12 of its known Victorian locations.

This native Australian rodent inhabits open heathland and coastal areas, mostly feeding on native plant seeds, leaves and fungi. It’s quite possible the Pookila has an important role in seed dispersal. You can tell it’s different from the house mouse by its larger ears and eyes and a distinct lack of ‘mousey’ odour. Once a continuous population across the east coast of Australia, it is now declining in numbers.

The major threats

The Pookila is increasingly under threat from loss of habitat as well as predators such as feral cats and foxes. Dieback caused by Cinnamon Fungus to its food source is a major issue. Bushfires and the competition from introduced rodents also put this native mouse at risk.

The plan for fighting extinction

Zoos Victoria is committed to improving the long-term future for the Pookila. We are researching population size and structure across the Pookila range and developing plans to reintroduce the Pookila back to its former range, where it belongs.

In 2022, Melbourne Zoo began a captive breeding program with our partners at Moonlit Sanctuary with the hope to boost wild numbers through a breed-and-release program.

How you can help

  • Join the Safe Cat, Safe Wildlife community and learn about how to keep your cat safe and happy at home.
  • Raise community awareness and support for the Pookila.
  • By visiting our zoos, you are supporting our work to fight extinction.
  • Donate if you can. As we are a not-for-profit organisation, all donations go towards our conservation efforts.
  • Discover more about local conservation events and join the growing number of wild activists taking action for local wildlife.
Population Trend:
Number left in the wild:
Fewer than 10,000

Conservation Status

  • LC
    Least Concern
  • NT
    Near Threatened
  • VU
  • EN
  • CR
    Critically Endangered
  • EW
    Extinct in the Wild
  • EX