Local ecologist Damien Cook came across an unusual road kill near the Chewton- Fryerstown road in late March: an Eastern Pygmy Possum. According to a recent article on the Museum Victoria website, it’s ‘listed as near threatened in Victoria; at risk from predation by foxes and cats, competition with feral honeybees and increasing fire frequency’. It’s particularly rare in the box ironbark region. The last record for here was 1993 in Elphinstone. It’s not great that the find is of a dead possum: but we can take some positive news from the fact that the creature seems to be still hanging on in our area.
The pygmy possum can get most of its food from nectar and pollen, and relies on a diverse understorey to meet its needs. Here, of course, is a problem: understorey and leaf litter, considered vital components of the ecosystem by environmentalists, are often seen simply as fuel by fire managers.