Four of these adorable little marsupials from Yellingbo Nature Reserve have been brought in to kickstart a captive breeding program which may prove critical in saving this species from extinction. These possums are genetically distinct from the other wild Leadbeater’s population that inhabit the Central Highlands regions of Victoria.
Each night, the animal’s movements are filmed using infrared cameras. At this stage the four possums are housed separately. The keepers, who rarely see these nocturnal animals in the flesh, are especially interested in seeing when the animals are feeding, if they are exploring their enclosure, when and how often they return to their nest boxes or if there is any aggression between neighboring possums. It takes hours of intense observation to accurately record the possums’ movements.
Soon, males and females will be introduced to each other. Fingers crossed that they will like each other and produce some young pretty quickly. Leadbeater’s Possums can have one or two young at a time. Like all marsupials the babies are born very tiny and undeveloped. They move to the pouch where they continue their growth and development. There are a lot of people eagerly hoping for breeding success. Their introduction should make for some interesting viewing!
Speaking of new arrivals Lunar’s Secret Forest is an exciting new interactive multimedia experience at Healesville Sanctuary. The super-quick, animated Lunar character will beam her magic from a large screen. Kids are invited to take up a magical torch that will help Lunar guide them through the Secret Forest as they become researchers looking to see how many of these tiny, endangered Victorian possums are left in the forest. Why not come to Healesville Sanctuary and have a go!
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