EPBC Status: Critically Endangered
SPRAT Species Profile: Gymnobelideus leadbeateri — Leadbeater's Possum
Found in: Central highlands of Victoria
Threatened Species Strategy Scorecards: Leadbeater’s Possum was under assessment by the Threatened Species Scientific Committee at the time of preparation of the Year Three Report, and hence was not included in the trajectories assessment and a scorecard is not available. Subsequently, the Threatened Species Scientific Committee completed its assessment of the Leadbeater’s Possum and the Minister has made a decision that it should remain critically endangered. For the most up to date information on the Leadbeater’s Possum, please refer to the approved Conservation Advice, available at the SPRAT Species Profile listed above.
Species summary from Year Three Report (2018)
Leadbeater’s Possum is a small marsupial restricted to an area of about 3000 km2 in the Victorian Central Highlands and a lowland swamp forest at Yellingbo. Its distribution and numbers have varied over time, with episodic severe declines associated with extensive wildfire, notably in 1939 and 2009. Fire history and timber harvest practices are major determinants in habitat suitability in montane ash forests, where Leadbeater’s Possum is dependent on tree hollows that only form in large trees over 120 years old.
Conservation actions have focused on managing forested areas sympathetically with Leadbeater’s Possum habitat requirements. This includes mitigation of timber harvesting impacts through pre-harvest survey programs and management prescriptions for timber harvesting areas. Habitat augmentation with artificial tree hollows and nesting boxes has been undertaken in some areas, and a specific reserve system for Leadbeater’s Possum is in place, a captive population is also held at Healesville Sanctuary. Intensive efforts to enhance habitat have been undertaken for the small population at Yellingbo, however that population continues to decline.
- Threatened species strategy
- 20 birds by 2020
- 20 mammals by 2020
- 30 plants by 2020
- Three year review of progress on priority bird and mammal species
Photo credit: © Peter MacDonald