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A Long-footed potoroo photographed by a camera deep in the East Gippsland forest.
A Long-footed Potoroo photographed by a remote camera deep in the forest in north-east Victoria.

One of Victoria’s most threatened marsupials is showing signs of bouncing back following the impacts of the devastating 2019-20 bushfires in north-east Victoria.

Motion-sensing cameras, installed at 120 locations across the Barry Mountains detected Long-footed Potoroos at 35 sites, including 12 sites severely affected by the fires.

DELWP’s Hume Natural Environment Programs Officer, Elizabeth Wemyss, said the sightings are encouraging signs that Long-footed Potoroos are survivors and recovering well after the fires.

'It’s fantastic to see that the species is still in the landscape after the bushfires and it shows how resilient they are,' she said.

An image of a Long-footed Potoroo captured by a remote camera at night.
An image of a Long-footed Potoroo captured by a remote camera at night.

The cameras were fixed in locations for 21 days at sites near Dandongadale, Abbeyard, Mount Howitt and Harrietville to help determine the species’ ability to survive the bushfires.

To entice the endangered marsupials into the scope of the cameras, staff constructed bait stations filled with a mixture of peanut butter, golden syrup, oats and truffle oil.

'The cameras use heat-sensing technology that triggers an infra-red "flash" when movement is detected around the bait station – capturing images of the rarely seen species,' Ms Wemyss said. 

The cameras also detected other shy native species including the Long-nosed Bandicoot, multiple species of Antechinus and 26 bird species.

'The data will now be used to help us better understand the impacts of fire on Long-footed Potoroos so we can take important steps to ensure their survival into the future,' Ms Wemyss said. 

A Long-footed Potoroo, a small marsupial with a long, pointy nose, pointy ears, short brown fur and a long, rodent-like tail.

Long-footed potoroos are an endangered species found only in parts of north-east Victoria, far east Gippsland and south eastern NSW.

Introduced predators such as foxes and feral cats, bushfires and climate change have caused their decline.

The long-footed potoroo project is part of the Victorian Government’s $51.5 million Bushfire Biodiversity Response and Recovery program, which supports on-ground action to help species impacted by last summer’s bushfires.

DELWP, Forest Fire Management Victoria, Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research (ARI), Taungurung Land and Waters Council and Parks Victoria are delivering the project.

Reviewed 20 May 2021

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