The program

The Caring for Our Environment - Faunal Emblems Program is helping to improve the long-term sustainability of the Leadbeater’s Possum and the Helmeted Honeyeater.

The Victorian State Government is providing $998,000 over 2020/2021 for 26 targeted actions that will assist populations directly, as well as protecting and restoring crucial habitat.

This program, overseen by DELWP, is funded to complement the current recovery efforts for the Helmeted Honeyeater and Leadbeater’s Possum.

Helmeted Honeyeater

Why these species?

The Leadbeater’s Possum and Helmeted Honeyeater are two of Victoria’s Faunal Emblem’s and are found only in Victoria. Both are listed as ‘Critically Endangered’ under Victoria’s Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1998 and the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. The Lowland Leadbeater's Possum and Helmeted Honeyeater live side by side in the Yellingbo Nature Conservation with the Highland Leadbeater’s possums range extending into Victoria’s Central Highlands.

Lowland Leadbeater's Possum

Credit: Zoos Victoria

Faunal Emblems Program Working Group

This program is taking a collaborative approach, with government and non-government partners forming the Faunal Emblems Program Working Group. The Working Group is made up of representatives from:

What are we doing?

DELWP is coordinating the range of actions being carried out by the Faunal Emblems Program Working Group. These include:

  • DELWP, Parks Victoria and Zoos Victoria are completing surveys across Yellingbo and Victoria’s Central Highlands to get a better understanding of Lowland and Highland Leadbeater's possum populations, including locating potential translocation sites.
  • DELWP’s Port Phillip Region, with Zoos Victoria and the Friends of the Helmeted Honeyeater, will  complete surveys to identify and analyse possible good quality habitat for the translocation of captive bred and wild Helmeted Honeyeaters to create new populations.
  • Zoos Victoria is supporting ongoing analysis of Helmeted Honeyeater and lowland Leadbeater's Possum genetics by world-leading conservation geneticists at Monash University to steer genetic rescue programs for both species
  • Parks Victoria will continue the long term Leadbeater's Possum nest box program. Funding will be used to build and install 40 nest boxes for the Leadbeater's Possum at priority sites including 2 new sites in the Central Highlands.
  • Continuing support of monitoring and supplementary feeding of Helmeted Honeyeaters in Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve and at translocation sites.
  • The Port Phillip and Westernport Catchment Management Authority (PPWCMA) are working to identify potential new areas of habitat and prepare land management plans to restore these to support populations.
  • The PPWCMA are working with the Wurundjeri-Woi-wurring Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation to continue habitat restoration planning for a  future release site for Leadbeater’s Possums and Helmeted Honeyeaters on a 45-hectare property in the Coranderrk Habitat Restoration Area near Healesville .
  • DELWP, Parks Victoria and Zoos Victoria are working to restore areas where habitat condition is declining by protecting critical habitat from the effects of over browsing in the last remaining high-quality habitat for lowland Leadbeater’s Possums.
  • We are working to reduce the number of feral cats and foxes within our parks and reserves to protect both species from predation.
  • Through conservation covenants, Trust for Nature is working with private landholders to permanently protect suitable habitat on their properties.
  • Scientists from the Arthur Rylah Institute are investigating patterns of re-colonisation of Leadbeater’s Possum after bushfires to inform future conservation management.
  • Zoos Victoria will use existing habitat assessment methods at recently detected Leadbeater’s Possum sites to assess vegetation structure. This data will help set habitat restoration targets for sites in the Yarra Valley for both species.
  • Zoos Victoria is generating an improved database to track the survival and reproductive contributions of Helmeted Honeyeaters.

Parks Victoria has developed two digital e-books on Victoria’s faunal emblems to connect young people to conservation issues and instil a love of and connection to their habitat. These e-books link directly to the development of reading skills in the Victorian curriculum. See: https://www.parks.vic.gov.au/get-into-nature/learning-in-nature/plan-your-learning/conservation-storytelling

We are supporting several community groups with their involvement with recovery efforts. This has included help with:

  • camera monitoring
  • collecting valuable seeds used to grow stock for revegetating habitat
  • engaging local landholders to protect or restore habitat on their properties
  • monitoring possums by providing possum nest boxes for groups to erect and monitor.

Through Trust for Nature, we have supported Indigenous Victorians to complete a Certificate III in Conservation and Land Management to build capacity for Traditional Owners to work on Country.

Questions

How can I get involved?

There are many community groups and volunteer organisations working to help protect and raise awareness of these species.

By 2037, we want 5 million Victorians acting to protect the natural environment and we’ve set out our roadmap for achieving this in our recently released Environmental Volunteering Plan.

For information on environmental volunteering please email environmental.volunteering@delwp.vic.gov.au or see the interactive map of Victorian environmental volunteering groups.

Leadbeater's Possum survey kits are available on loan through DELWP to community groups or individuals searching for new colonies.

You can also contact one of the many community, Landcare or Friends groups who are working to help protect and raise awareness of these, and many other species.

How can I find out more about this program?

Contact DELWP or keep an eye on this page for updates on the program.

Page last updated: 30/09/21