Adorable pygmy possum, feared decimated by bushfires, found on Australian island
Conservationists have made a very tiny, but highly heartening discovery on a South Australian island that was ravaged by bushfires last summer — a lone, surviving pygmy possum.
The miniature mammals — smaller than an adult’s thumb — had been feared to have been wiped out in bushfires that had ravaged Kangaroo Island, The Guardian reported on Monday.
“This capture is the first documented record of the species surviving post-fire,” ecologist Pat Hodgens told the paper.
“The fire did burn through 88 percent of the species’ predicted range,” he said.
Hodgens’ group, the Kangaroo Island Land for Wildlife, released the caputured creature back into the still-recovering bushland.
Ecologists believe he is not the only pygmy possum out there. But Hodgens warns, “They’re still not out of the woods because right now, they’re at their most vulnerable.
“As the bushland regenerates, they’re still very exposed to natural and introduced predators,” including feral cats, he said.