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 $3,000,000 over two years to the program for targeted actions that will assist populations directly, as well as protecting and restoring crucial habitat.

This program, overseen by DELWP, was funded to complement the current recovery efforts for the Helmeted Honeyeater and Leadbeater’s Possum and will run until June 2020.

Helmeted Honeyeater

Lowland Leadbeater's Possum

Credit: Zoos Victoria

Why these species?

The Leadbeater’s Possum and Helmeted Honeyeater are two of Victoria’s Faunal Emblem’s and are found only in Victoria. The Lowland Leadbeater's Possum and Helmeted Honeyeater live side by side in the Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve, with the Highland Leadbeater’s possums range extending into Victoria’s Central Highlands.

Both species have been listed as 'Threatened' under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1998 and federally as 'Critically Endangered' under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

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:

  • The Port Phillip and Westernport Catchment Management Authority are working to identify potential new areas of habitat and prepare plans on how to restore these to support populations.
  • DELWP, Parks Victoria and Zoos Victoria are working to restore areas where habitat condition is declining. We are protecting critical habitat from the effects of over browsing from deer by establishing exclusion zones. We are working to reduce the number of feral cats and foxes within our parks and reserves to protect both species from predation.
  • Through land covenants, Trust for Nature has worked with private landholders to permanently protect habitat on their properties.
  • The continued support of intensive monitoring and supplementary feeding of Helmeted Honeyeaters in Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve. Including supporting the great work done by volunteers from the Friends of Helmeted Honeyeater group. 
  • 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 how populations recover after fire has affected their habitat.
  • Captive breeding programs for Helmeted Honeyeaters and Leadbeater’s Possums at Zoos Victoria are critical to the long-term survival of these species by providing additional animals to be released to the wild and as back up populations in case disaster strikes in the wild. We are supporting research into how best care for these species in captivity to achieve the best release outcomes, including training captive-bred birds to avoid predators before they are released into the wild.
  • Together with universities, Zoos Victoria is generating a reference genome for both species to aid in breeding and translocation decision making into the future. Collecting biological samples from wild and captive populations of both species will help us getter a better idea of what risks disease might pose to populations of both species, and how we can reduce the impact of these in our management actions.

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.


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 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: 29/06/21