The North East Catchment Management Authority is joining Zoos Victoria in a call for Australians to turn off unnecessary outside lights, to help save one of the nation’s most adorable, but critically endangered species - the Mountain Pygmy-possum.
Commencing September 1, Lights Off for Moths is an attempt to avert a crisis for the 2,000 remaining Mountain Pygmy-possums in the wild.
The country’s only hibernating marsupial is at risk of starvation after its main food source, the migrating Bogong Moth, has failed to appear in adequate numbers in the possums’ Victorian Alps home for the second year in a row.
It is thought that as moths use both the Earth’s magnetic field and visual cues on the horizon to navigate their way, light pollution from urban centres is trapping the moths, hindering them from continuing their journey.
So, on the eve of the moth’s annual spring migration, the CMA is calling on everyone along the flight path of the Bogong Moth to turn off any unnecessary outdoor lighting that may be interrupting the moths from their traditional migration, across September and October.
Lights Off for Moths is only one initiative being trialed to stabilise and increase the population of Mountain Pygmy-possums.
Zoos Victoria is also creating a new platform, Moth Tracker, which will launch mid-September, to enable citizen scientists to record Bogong Moth sightings.
In the north-east a range of interventions are being implemented in the wild from the National Recovery Plan for the Mountain Pygmy-possum.
Weed control and revegetation to enable recovery of another favourite possum food source, the Mountain Plum Pine, is being supported with habitat restoration initiatives, including the improvement of habitat connectivity, and the protection and reconstruction of boulderfields in key locations.
Monitoring and controlling pest animal species is another important intervention being undertaken in the mountain-side habitat of these endangered marsupials.
The North East recovery project, focusing on the Central Population of Mountain Pygmy-possums, is coordinated by the North East CMA with partners Parks Victoria, Mount Hotham Alpine Resort Management Board, Falls Creek Alpine Resort Management Board and DELWP and is supported through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.