Conservationists have found Tasmania’s first dwarf opossum on Kangaroo Island since wildfires destroyed most of their habitat.
The Tasmanian dwarf opossum (Cercartetus lepidus) is the smallest of all known possum weasels with a length of only 6.6-7.5 centimeters and weighing around 7 grams. They are mainly distributed over the two islands of Tasmania and Kangaroo, with a small area in Victoria and South Australia.
Due to its small size and limited range, this marsupial has been difficult to find and study, especially since last summer, when wildfires destroyed 88% of their natural habitat.
In an effort to restore wildlife in Australia, Kangaroo Island Land for Wildlife Conservation reported the discovery of a Tasmanian dwarf opossum on Kangaroo Island earlier last week. It is the first species found since the forest fire disaster.
“Currently, they are critically endangered and are in their most vulnerable stages due to habitat loss. Even as the forest regenerates, they continue to face exotic animals and predators. nature is like a wild cat, ”says environmentalist Pat Hodgens.
The team surveyed 20 sites on Kangaroo Island and found a number of other native species, including the southern brown tapir, Australian bush rat, broom-tailed fox, kangaroo wallaby and one species. opossum. Another dwarf bears the scientific name of Cercartetus concinnus.
“This is great news, but there are still a few other rare species to be discovered, such as the native swamp rats. All survey and camera efforts have yet to identify individuals.” , Adds Hodgens.
Environmentalists have pointed out that it may take years, if not decades, for Australia’s wildlife to recover as before.