Nest box collected by a Parks Victoria ranger involved in the Leadbeater's Possum Recovery Program.
The nest box was recovered from the Lake Mountain plateau on the Echo Flat ski trail after the bushfires of 7 February 2009. It was one of 30 nesting boxes installed on the plateau, primarily as a tool for annual population surveys. 22 of these boxes were destroyed in the fire and 6 were partially burnt, while only 2 remained intact. This box had been used by possums as a nest site prior to the fires.
The nest box was constructed using double thickness marine ply wood. The object has been damaged by fire as a result of the Black Saturday bushfires.
The Leadbeater's Possum is a faunal emblem of the state of Victoria. The species is endangered, and was rediscovered in Victoria's Central highlands in 1961 (Museum Mammals Curator, Joan Dixon, is thought to have been involved in the rediscovery) after being thought extinct in 1909. As such, it holds symbolic meaning beyond its inherent significance as a native marsupial species endemic to Victoria. Key threats to the species are forestry and intensive wildfire. The Leadbeater's Possum was severely affected by the Black Saturday fires which began on February 7th 2009, with around half of the species habitat being affected and the possible loss of the population at Marysville, the sight of its rediscovery.
This Leadbeater's Possum nesting box represents the impact of bushfires, and particularly the historically momentous Black Saturday fires, upon native wildlife and ecosystems. The damage incurred to the box is evocative of the heat of the fire which burnt in the area. The box was recovered from the Lake Mountain plateau, where conservation efforts are underway to prevent further population loss after the fires.
The Black Saturday fires have led to a changed role of nesting boxes. Though previously a tool used in conducting annual population surveys, new boxes which have replaced those damaged have become a vital source of nests and shelter for surviving possums, as many of the hollow trees in which they would naturally nest have been destroyed. Replacement boxes have been produced using recycled plastic rather than wood, offering greater strength and insulation.
Donation from Parks Victoria, 1/06/2009
Type of item
360 mm (Width), 430 mm (Depth), 725 mm (Height)
Malcolm Macfarlane, Jill Smith, & Kim Lowe, Leadbeater's Possum (Gymnobelideus leadbeateri) Recovery Plan, Department of Natural Resources and Environment Victoria, July 1997, accessed at Australian Government Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts website, [Link 1] Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, Australian Government, Species Profile and Threats Database, Leadbeater's Possum, accessed online at [Link 2] Stateline Victoria, ABC Online, Faunal Emblem Threatened: The animal victims of Black Saturday, Broadcast 22/05/09, transcript accessed online at [Link 3] Joanna Antrobus, Parks Victoria, Lake Mountain summary post fire 2009. Phone and recorded interviews with Joanna Antrobus (Parks Victoria) and Sera Blair (Friends of the Leadbeater's Possum). Australian National University, Conservation Landscape and Ecology, Leadbeater's Possum home page, accessed online at [Link 4] Department of Sustainability and the Environment, Leadbeater's Possum Action Statement, (1995), accessed online at [Link 5] Victorian Government, Department of Premier and Cabinet, Symbols and Flags- Emblems, accessed online at [Link 6]!OpenDocument&1=90-Protocol~&2=10-Symbols+and+Flags~&3=0-The+Leadbeater%27s+Possum~ Specialist Researchers: Dr. David Lindenmayer - an ANU academic specialising in research into the Leadbeater's Possum, particularly focussing upon habitat requirements and models of hollow tree production and decay. A summary of Dr. Lindenmayer's work is available at Australian National University, Conservation Landscape and Ecology, David Lyndenmayer's Research on the Ecology and Habitat requirements of the Leadbeater's Possum, accessed at [Link 7] Dr. Dan Harley- Monash University researcher. PhD focuses upon the Leadbeater's Possum population at Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve.