At the backcountry festival, we will be raising funds for a number of great causes (check here for the full list).
As part of these efforts, we will be selling tshirts again in 2019, and all profits will be directed to the Mountain Pygmy Possum recovery program at Mt Buller. Please see below for details on this important – and very successful – initiative.
We will post details on how to buy them closer to the festival.
The successful genetic rescue of the Mount Buller mountain pygmy possum
“Before 2010, there was thought to be only a handful of individuals at Mt Buller. Now, Mt Buller females from the genetic rescue are bigger and have more offspring that survive longer than the progeny of pygmy possums born outside the program. We now estimate the population to be over 200 possums.” – Dr Andrew Weeks, University of Melbourne.
Dr Ian Mansergh from La Trobe University said the study’s findings mark an important development in conservation management: “Our study confirms genetic rescue as a successful conservation technique, especially when used for small, isolated populations of threatened species.”
The Burramys Genetic Rescue Team is a collaboration of researchers from the University of Melbourne, La Trobe University, Mount Buller Mount Stirling Resort Management and UNSW.
The unique mountain pygmy possum (Burramys parvus) population of Mt Buller had been isolated for 20,000 years but was facing imminent extinction just ten years after it was discovered in 1996. Through a program of cross breeding isolated populations of the threatened species, the Burramys Genetic Rescue Team was able to boost genetic variation, translating to population growth, healthy breeding and improved survival rates.
Genetic rescue was used to introduce male mountain pygmy possums, from a healthy population at Mt Hotham, to a recipient group of females at Mt Buller. Since the genetic rescue program began in 2011, the possum population has gone through rapid growth and is now larger than when the population was first discovered.
Along with genetic rescue, there was also a program of habitat restoration, predator control and environmental protection instituted by the land manager, Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management.
The Burramys Genetic Rescue Team is a finalist in in the Research Innovation Category of the 2018 Australian Museum Eureka Prizes.
You can watch the video here: http://go.unimelb.edu.au/nwo6
Check here for additional info and resources on the MPP and efforts to bring the species back from the brink of extinction.
Georgina Boardman works for Mt Hotham resort management board. Check here for her story on the recovery efforts at Mt Hotham.
Louise Perrin manages the recovery efforts at Mt Buller. Check here for her story.