Endangered: Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016, Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999
Critically Endangered: IUCN RedList (IUCN 2018)
The mountain pygmy-possum is a small, ground-dwelling possum. They live in boulder-fields and adjacent heathland in sub-alpine and alpine areas above 1200m. The possums hibernate during winter then wake in spring to feed on Bogong moths that also occupy the boulders.
Boulder fields with deep streams running through them are preferred habitat. Heathland provides shelter from predators and additional food in insects, nectar, fruits and seeds. The total population is tiny and at risk, estimated at around 3050 adults only.
Several threats have caused this species to be listed as critically endangered:
– Predation by feral species including cats and foxes.
– Climate change resulting in drought, degraded habitat and reduced snowfall (necessary for hibernation).
– Habitat fragmentation due to development.
– Feral horses have also been identified as a threat as they muddy streams and trample heathland resulting in loss of food and water sources, shelter from predators, and subsequently the lives of the mountain pygmy-possum.
- Bates, H., Worboys, G. L., Driscoll, D. and Crabb, P. (2018) Indirect impacts of the Feral Horse on The Mountain Pygmy Possum, Feral Horse Impacts: The Kosciuszko Science Conference – Conference Abstracts, Australian Academy of Science, The Australian National University, Deakin University.
- Broome, L., Archer, M., Bates, H., Shi, H., Geiser, F., McAllan, B., Heinze, D., Hand, S., Evans, T. and Jackson, S. (2012) A Brief Review of the Life History of, and Threats to, Burramys parvus with a Pre-history Based Proposal for Ensuring that it has a Future. In D. Lunney and P. Hutchings (eds), Wildlife and Climate Change: Towards Robust Conservation Strategies for Australian Fauna, pp. 114–126. Royal Zoological Society of NSW, Mosman, NSW.
- Gibson, R. K., Broome, L. and Hutchison, M. F. (2018) Susceptibility to Climate Change via Effects on Food Resources: The Feeding Ecology of the Endangered Mountain Pygmy-possum (Burramys parvus). Wildlife Research 45(6): 539–550. https://doi.org/10.1071/WR17186.