Zoos Victoria is committed to protecting the Mountain Pygmy-possum and you can help too.
Each spring, Mountain Pygmy-possums wake up from hibernation, hungry for nutritious Bogong Moths to eat.
Bogong Moths usually fly to the possums’ mountain home in the billions, but fewer moths have arrived in the last three years. This now means there may not be enough food for these tiny possums to raise their babies. In the worst affected population, more than 95% of females lost their young when moths largely failed to arrive.
How you can help: upload a Bogong Moth sighting to Moth Tracker
It's simple: if you see a Bogong Moth, take a photo and upload it to Zoos Victoria's Moth Tracker webpage.
It’s quick and easy, and will help scientists better understand if the moths will make it to the mountains this year.
Not sure if the moth you've seen is a Bogong Moth?
Upload your photo anyway and the Zoos Victoria team will verify it for you. Here's what to look for:
- Bogong Moths are small, with a body length of around 2.5 – 3.5 centimetres
- They have a dark stripe that runs down each wing
- They have a spot at the top of the stripe that is shaped like a circle
- They also have a spot at the bottom of the stripe which is shaped like a kidney
- Both spots are the same colour
What are Mountain Pygmy-possums?
With big ears, large eyes, a curly tail and weighing around 45g, the Mountain Pygmy-possums are arguably Australia's cutest possum. They are also Australia's only hibernating marsupial, making them extra special.
They are classified as critically endangered, with fewer than 2,000 left in the wild and their most urgent threat is now the loss of their spring food source, the Bogong Moth.
Mountain Pygmy-possums are one of the 27 local threatened species that Zoos Victoria are fighting tirelessly to save from extinction.
Where have the Bogong Moths gone?
Bogong Moths usually migrate each year from southern Queensland, central NSW and western Victoria to the Australian Alps. They are facing a number of challenges along the way, but we can all do our bit to help!
What else can I do to help?
During the Bogong Moth migration period (September to December) turn off unnecessary outdoor lights at night. This will help reduce light pollution which can make it harder for the moths to navigate their journey to the mountains.
Planting native flowers, and not using insecticides are also little things we can all do that can make a big difference.
And don’t forget to let us know if you think you see one! Upload your Bogong Moth sightings to Moth Tracker.
What is Zoos Victoria doing to help?
The Victorian Mountain Pygmy-Possum Recovery Team, together with supporting organisations, is also working hard to implement interventions in the wild.
At Zoos Victoria, interventions include developing new nutritious food sources like Bogong Bikkies, improving habitat connectivity and captive measures, to support populations through the breeding season.