Each spring, Mountain Pygmy-possums wake up from their annual hibernation, hungry for nutritious Bogong Moths to eat so they can raise their young.
Bogong Moths normally migrate from Queensland, NSW and western Victoria towards Mountain Pygmy-possum habitats in the mountains. But for the past two years they haven’t arrived, which is putting extra pressure on the endangered possum.
Scientists believe the “astonishing” drop in Bogong Moth numbers is linked to climate change and recent droughts in areas where the moths breed.
Zoos Victoria notes that as well as other threats, such as drought and pesticide use, ‘bright lights from towns and cities are thought to lure and trap the moths along their migration route’.
With the crash in Bogong Moth numbers, Zoos Victoria has launched a program to help the general community to help the moths – and hence the Mountain Pygmy Possum.
Their program is in three parts:
1/ Turn your lights off for the Bogong Moths
This September and October we’re asking everyone in the ACT, NSW and Victoria to turn unnecessary lights off overnight.
If you have friends or family members who live in these areas, please tell them to turn lights off for the Bogong Moths!
We also need unnecessary lights turned off at Parliament House in Canberra, and public buildings and stadiums across the ACT, NSW and Victoria.
2/ Moth Tracker (launches September 15)
Each spring, swarms of Bogong Moths migrate from their breeding grounds to the alpine regions where Mountain Pygmy-possums live.
In 2017 and 2018, Bogong Moths arriving in these areas crashed from around 4.4 billion to just a few individuals.
We need more info about where these moths are.
The moth tracker site is now live and can be found here.
Help the Mountain Pygmy-possum by recording your Bogong Moth sighting on our Moth Tracker.
3/ Totes for Wildlife (launches September 7)
It’s never been more important to secure food sources for critically endangered Mountain Pygmy-possums.
We’re working with our partners to improve Mountain Pygmy-possum habitat by planting trees and shrubs like Alpine Plum Pines to increase the number of insects in the region and to produce fruits and nuts for the possums to eat in autumn.
For every tote bag you buy at one of our zoos, online or at PETstock from September, we’ll plant a tree. Together we can protect a tiny treasure.
Find out more
Georgina Boardman works for Mt Hotham Resort Management Board and manages the Mountain Pygmy Possum recovery program on the mountain. She will be speaking on the latest efforts to help the possum recover at Mt Hotham during the Backcountry Festival, which will happen on Saturday September 7, 2019.
This will happen at The General in Hotham village. All welcome. Details here.
For background information on the Bogong Moth and it’s connection to the Mountain Pygmy Possum, please check here.