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RAISED $ - OUR GOAL $500,000

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Gilbert's Potoroo (Potorous gilbertii)

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OUR CONSERVATION STATUS
  • National: Critically Endangered  
  • State: Critically Endangered (WA)
HOW MANY OF US ARE THERE?

< 250 individuals

WHERE DO WE LIVE?

Gilbert’s potoroo was once widespread throughout south-west Australia, but now is found only on the Mt Gardner headland at Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve.

DID YOU KNOW?

Gilbert’s potoroo, sometimes called the “rat-kangaroo”, is Australia's most endangered marsupial and one of the world's most endangered mammals. The species was thought to be extinct from the early 1900s, until it was rediscovered in 1994 on the Mt Gardner headland.

Gilbert’s Potoroo is a small nocturnal marsupial which lives in small groups or colonies, slightly smaller than a rabbit, with a dense coat of soft grey-brown fur. With furry jowls, large eyes and an almost hairless tail, it weighs in at around a kilogram.

OUR HABITAT

Found today in dense long-unburnt shrubland on the flanks of Mt Gardner. Preferred habitat is tall shrubland dominated by Melaleuca between 1.5 and 2 metres tall. The potoroos nest during the day and at times during the night in bowl-shaped depressions beneath low bushes, generally well hidden beneath the shrub canopy. A second wild colony has also been established on the feral-free Bald Island.

Gilbert’s Potoroo diet is unusual for a mammal species and consists almost entirely of fungi and are one of the most fungi dependent mammals in the world. Fruiting bodies of underground fungi (sometimes called ‘truffles’) make up over 90% of the diet of Gilbert’s Potoroo. These fungi are dependent on trees that are affected by the dieback disease Phytophthora cinnamomi. The remainder of the species’ diet includes small insects and small fleshy fruits.

FAMILY LIFE

Female Gilbert’s Potoroos can produce young at any time of the year. Young are born 4-6 weeks after mating and are approximately 1cm long at that stage. They spend three to four months in the pouch before coming out for the first time. Within a week they have permanently left the pouch, although they still suckle from the mother. 

THREATS TO OUR SURVIVAL
  • Habitat loss and fragmentation due to clearance of native vegetation
  • Predation from foxes and cats
  • Dieback disease – caused by the root pathogen Phytophthora cinnamomi
  • Inappropriate and changed fire regimes


Potoroos love & need:

Melaleuca

Most melaleucas are endemic to Australia. They are found in a wide variety of habitats. Many are adapted for life in swamps and boggy places, while others thrive in the poorest of sandy soils or on the edge of saltpans. Some have a wide distribution and are common whilst others are rare and endangered. READ MORE

Allocasuarina

Allocasuarina trees are notable for their long, segmented branchlets that function as leaves. Formally termedcladodes, these branchlets somewhat resemble pineneedles, although sheoaks are actually flowering plants. The leaves are reduced to minute scales encircling each joint. Fallen cladodes form a dense, soft mat beneath sheoaks, preventing the development of undergrowth and making sheoak woods remarkably quiet. READ MORE


Leucopogon

Leucopogonis a genus of about 150-160 species of shrubby flowering plants. Leucopogons are erect densely branched shrub, seldom more that 1m high, with narrow pungent-pointed leaves 3.7–8mm long. The white flowers are pendent-like, tubular, 4–5mm long, hairy inside tube and are borne singly but abundantly along ends of branches. The fruit is a ridged and hairless rounded drupe. READ MORE