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Mt Buller is home to 1 of only 3 known populations of the tiny and endangered Mountain Pygmy-Possum (Burramys parvus). These rare alpine mammals weigh less than 80 grams, live only in restricted alpine areas and studies show there are as few as 2,600 adults surviving in nature.
In a quest to boost the food supply for the Possums Zoos Victoria is leading a campaign “Lights off for the Bogong Moths” which seeks to help more moths make the journey to the mountains by reducing light pollution on their migration path from Queensland down to the Alpine Regions.
The Mt Buller community is embracing the program by turning off non-essential lights and covering outside lights with a cellophane film to reduce the attraction for the Bogong Moths. The intent is to direct more moths to the boulder fields and rocky crevices on Federation and Wombat where the Mountain Pygmy-Possums will be waking up ready to feed. Locals wishing to cover their lights can collect the film from Guest Services in the Clocktower in the Village.
Zoos Victoria are asking us all to use the Moth Tracker website - https://www.swifft.net.au/mothtracker/ - to log sightings as the Bogong Moths fly south. This tool will help the scientific community analyse the moth migration this spring assessing numbers and monitoring their flight path.
Lou Perrin, Environment Manager for Mt Buller and Mt Stirling explains, ‘We urge locals and visitors to use the tracker tool on their phone so you can easily snap a photo and log your sighting. We can all be part of this simple yet powerful citizen science project and gather data to help our fragile Mountain Pygmy-Possum population. As the snow melts Mt Buller’s Mountain Pygmy-Possum population in the boulder fields will be waking up hungry and we want to do all we can to ensure they have Bogong Moths to fill their bellies.’
After a long hibernation the Mountain Pygmy-Possums usually weigh in at just 35 grams and need to quickly double their weight over the summer to boost their bodyfat in readiness for the next winter. Bogong moths are their perfect food source providing a power-house of fat and nutrients but the numbers of moths in the alpine areas has plummeted from 4.4 billion to only a few hundred last year according to Dr Marissa Parrott at Zoos Victoria.
A sleepy Mountain Pygmy-Possum - pic supplied: Zoos Victoria
Mt Buller’s lovable resort mascot “Barry Possum” will be sharing the message about the ‘Dim the Lights” campaign at Mt Buller this month so look out for him in the Village and on the slopes.
Find out more about the Mountain Pygmy-Possum Recovery Program: https://www.zoo.org.au/fighting-extinction/local-threatened-species/mountain-pygmy-possum/
Save the link for the Moth Tracker on your phone: https://www.swifft.net.au/mothtracker/
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