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 Judith Eardley Save Wildlife Association donation for Leadbeater's Possum after bushfire.

Judith Eardley Save Wildlife Association donation for Leadbeater's Possum after bushfire.

Healesville wildlife group digs deep for native wildlife

1 July 2009

Presentation of a generous donation from Judith Eardley Save Wildlife Association to aid

A small Healesville based wildlife association, comprised of just ten volunteers, has made an extraordinarily generous donation to help save and protect native wildlife affected by the recent Black Saturday bushfires. The Judith Eardley Save Wildlife Association is providing funding of $51,762 to Parks Victoria for programs that are supporting endangered native animals in post fire areas. These include the Leadbeater’s Possum, Brush-tailed Phascogale, and Broad-toothed Rat.

The Association was established in 2000 with the aim of raising funds to help save and protect wildlife, and is named after Judith Kathleen Eardley 1939 – 1997, who asked that part of her estate be used for wildlife protection.Parks Victoria’s Joanne Antrobus, who heads up its major Leadbeater’s Possum program, made the funding proposal to the Association for help with preserving and protecting surviving native populations whose numbers have been decimated. As an example, only six Leadbeater’s Possums have so far been sighted in the Lake Mountain area, where once there was a population of up to 300 of these tiny creatures. So far the money has gone towards monitoring remaining populations for all three species, post fire, to determine how they have fared and survived the fires. Small numbers of each species have been recorded at key local locations.

For the Leadbeater’s Possum at Lake Mountain, new nest boxes have been purchased and installed, a carefully rationed supplementary feeding program established, and a video surveillance camera purchased and used successfully to monitor the feeding program now underway.

The money has also funded volunteer training for a number of local groups to enable them to assist with these monitoring and feeding programs long term. Approximately 25 volunteers have completed training to date with more to follow.