Bushfire fear for endangered Kinglake marsupial

Bushfire fear for endangered Kinglake marsupial

29 September 2010

published by diamond-valley-leader.whereilive.com.au

Australia —  An endangered marsupial is feared locally extinct after last year’s bushfires destroyed much of its habitat.

Not a single brush-tailed phascogale was found during a recent survey of the species in the Diamond Valley, including Kinglake National Park.

Parks Victoria ranger Tony Fitzgerald said the Black Saturday bushfires affected 98 per cent of the park.

An initial survey found no phascogales in the park or the nearby Warrandyte-Kinglake Nature Conservation Reserve.

Mr Fitzgerald said a more recent study found the animal had still not returned.

“The survey pretty much came up with what we thought, which is no numbers in Kinglake,” Mr Fitzgerald said.

“There’s not really much there for a phascogale to live on.

“They like old, rotting logs and those got burnt. They like spiders and beetles to eat and those aren’t there either.”

Mr Fitzgerald said there had been declining numbers of the animal in previous years and Parks had focused its efforts since the fires on linking burnt land in the park with the unburned reserve to encourage native animals, including phascogales, to return to the Diamond Valley area.

After the DV Leader reported the plight of phascogales in April, Mr Fitzgerald said residents had reported four roadkill sightings in the St Andrews area, giving him hope they would return to the national park.

The brush-tailed phascogale is listed as vulnerable in Victoria and threatened in New South Wales.

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