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Dr Dan Harley talks to Ali Moore about Healesville Sanctuary’s Leadbeater’s possum breeding program

Dr Dan Harley has been working with the Leadbeater’s Possum for more than 20 years.

“They’re in a lot of trouble at the moment and we’re kind of really at crunch time in terms of saving this species,” he says.

They weigh less than an apple, they fit inside a coffee cup, but their baseball bat shaped tail is the Leadbeater’s possum’s most distinctive feature.

“When they’re running around at night it’s held erect… when they feed it vibrates,” says Dr Harley.

The Healesville Sanctuary’s breeding program is focussing on a genetically distinct group of leadbeater possums from Yellingbo.

In the last ten years this group has dropped from an estimated 110 possums to around 60 animals due to habitat loss.

“A single fire on any given day on any given summer could take the whole lot out in one hit,” says Dr Harley.

Dr Dan Harley talks to Ali Moore on 774 ABC Melbourne Mornings.