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Mt Buller today announced a pioneering study to investigate the enigmatic gnome population that lives in and around the popular Victorian alpine destination.
The resort is rolling out a Gnome Population Study and hopes to gather an initial snapshot of the scale and state of the gnome population at Mt Buller which has been in residence since the late 90s.
“It’s well-known we have gnomes at Mt Buller but little is known about the demographics of the gnome community, population fluctuations or its spread,” explains Media and Communications Manager Rhylla Morgan at Mt Buller.
“This study is the first of its kind and we are not aware of any solid scientific data on gnome populations in Australia or overseas, so it’s exciting to be pioneering this area of research at Mt Buller and learning more about our gnome populace,” she added.
There will be an official “Gnome Count” to take place on Easter Sunday and the resort is seeking help from the public to spot, photograph and count gnomes over the Easter holiday.
Gnomes are not native to Mt Buller but have been peaceably cohabiting on the mountain with the endemic species for approximately 20 years and are regularly sighted in and around the village. The resort installed a gnome crossing sign on the Mt Buller Road where gnomes are regularly sighted. The Australian Alpine Gnome Subocrinus gnomus shares similar features but is understood to be unrelated to the European Garden Gnome.
Gnomes are generally secretive although appear to have settled easily into the Mt Buller community, even building a Gnome Tree House close to the main road where visiting urban gnomes are also often sighted. Resort visitors often stop at the tree, leave notes in the letter box and take photos. Gnomes are also often observed around the Magic Forest and Ski & Snowboard School in the village.
To date there is no precise data on the size of the population, the age and gender mix and the resort is keen to understand more about the gnomes and their role in the alpine ecosystem. Mt Buller has long had a successful program fostering the reintroduction and protection of the endangered Mountain Pygmy-Possum and sees this new gnome study as a natural extension to understanding more about other species in the area.
Recent reports indicate gnomes may be expanding their territory up into the ski area and over to Mt Stirling where previously they’ve not been observed. It is speculated that after some years in the village and lower altitudes the gnomes are now exploring snowsports and are adapting to the snowy environment and embracing skiing and snow.
Mt Buller invites volunteers to participate in the Gnome Count on this Easter when there is a packed calendar of events taking place including an Easter Egg hunt and Mountain High Fun Run.
Gnome Count tally sheets are available for download HERE or at Alpine Central for Easter visitors.
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