Trees For Life launched their Habitat Hero Lottery this week in a bid to help save the homes of vulnerable wildlife impacted by loss of habitat. ‘Peter’ the Western Pygmy Possum (Cercartetus concinnus) is the ‘hero’ of the South Australian charity’s largest fundraiser.
Peter’s survival - and that of all Western Pygmy Possums (WPP) - is under threat. The precarious predicament of this species shows how at risk our native wildlife is.
The WPP is classified as critically endangered in the Mount Lofty Ranges. Most of the current population is believed to reside on the Fleurieu Peninsula where the species is considered endangered and numbers are declining.
The biggest threats to the tiny possum’s survival are habitat clearance and degradation, invasive weeds, and altered fire regimes which remove the vital shrubs that are so important for their existence.
Trees For Life Fundraising and Marketing Manager Maureen McKinnie said the lottery is one way all South Australians can play a part in helping our local fauna.
“We’re putting a call out to our nature loving community to be a Habitat Hero and help save Peter’s home,” Maureen said.
“Every $5 ticket in The Trees For Life Habitat Hero Lottery will help protect and restore habitat in South Australia and keep a roof over Peter’s head.”
“Plus you have a chance to win great prizes, like the $10,000 cash grand prize or a trip to Paris. Tickets are limited and are sure to sell out quickly.”
The charity’s bushcare program, Bush For Life, has sites located within the southern Fleurieu Peninsula which contain habitat suitable for supporting the endangered possums.
The good news is fauna surveys have recorded WPP’s on these sites, and through careful bush regeneration, volunteers are helping to conserve and reinstate vital habitat to support the persistence of this species into the future.
Tickets can be bought from Trees For Life’s website shop, email email@example.com, or phone 08 8406 0500.
For more information, interviews or images phone:
Trees For Life Chief Executive Natasha Davis 08 8406 0500 or 0419 807 437 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Trees For Life Fundraising & Marketing Officer Samantha Catford on 08 8406 0500 or 0437 523 326 or email@example.com
Peter’s Tinder Profile (swipe right)
Small but mighty: Peter weighs around 13 grams and can fit into the palm of your hand. His prehensile tail can often be as long as his body size and he uses it as a fifth leg. He has reddish-brown fur with white underparts, a short whiskered pointed face. Peter is incredibly fast and agile and can travel many kilometres a night in search of food.
Food: During the night Peter feeds on nectar, pollen, spiders, and insects, ripping off any inedible wings with his little pink hands. He eats nectar and pollen from eucalypts, banksias and bottlebrushes – and has been known to travel up to 4 kilometres in a single night to feed on the flowers of his favourite plant, Eucalyptus rugosa. Peter plays a large role in maintaining habitat health by pollinating his habitat and feeder trees.
Life and kids: Peter’s lifespan in the wild is approximately five years. His children are born whenever food is abundant, often between late spring and autumn. Mrs Peter Possum gives birth to a litter of three to eight young. As a marsupial she raises her undeveloped young in a pouch. Here they suckle until they're weaned at about two months old.
Threats: Snakes, feral cats and foxes are all threats, but the biggest threats are habitat clearance and degradation, invasive weeds, and altered fire regimes.
Habitat: Peter spends his life nesting, feeding and breeding in trees and shrubs. During the day he shelters in leaf-lined nests in tree hollows, between wood and bark, in abandoned bird nests and under shrubs. Habitat diversity, with plants that flower at different times of the year ensures he has a constant food source.