Image: © Aussie Ark
The Animal Facts Editorial Team
February 26, 2023 12:59 am
Barrington Tops, New South Wales, Australia
Aussie Ark have released 20 long-nosed potoroos in to their sanctuary in the Barrington tops where these magnificent marsupials will act as natural firefighters helping to protect the ecosystem. Aussie Ark’s Barrington Wildlife Sanctuary is a 400 hectare feral proof reserve where native animals can thrive like they did before European settlement.
The potoroo is known as Australia’s “little firefighter.”‘ As potoroos forage for food they turn over leaf litter helping with decomposition and keeping the ground moist which helps to reduce fuel loads in fires.
Aussie Ark Managing Director Tim Faulkner says “Potoroos link with fire is one of the most compelling ecological stories, and after the horror of Australia’s 2019 Black Summer fires it’s a story that needs more attention than ever.”
“Potoroos help reduce the threat of wildfires! They are ecosystem terrestrial engineers. Potoroos eat mushrooms, truffles and fungi. To eat these things, Potoroos turn over copious amounts of leaf-litter on the forest floor; about an elephant’s worth of debris annually!” Mr Faulkner said.
Making the release of these twenty potoroos even more special was the dozens of partners, community members, sponsors and donors present at the release to acknowledge the role of the Potoroo. The guests of honour were a group of human firefighters from the Ellerston RFS who arrived in their fire truck.
Ellerston RFS chief operating officer Brendan White was quick to pay tribute to Australia’s little unsung fire hero.
“Wish we could hire them on the force!” Mr White said. “None of us will forget the mega fires we experienced during Black Summer. It was unprecedented. And it’s predicted those fires will get more frequent and ferocious unless we urgently restore our bush. The Potoroo does exactly that.”
Aussie Ark are a leading facility in the breeding and conservation of threatened Australian species. The release of these potoroos is another step in their efforts to secure an insurance population of this species to secure their future.
Long-nosed potoroos are not just firefighters. They are also gardeners, find out how in our fact file.
The long-nosed potoroo is a type of macropod which are marsupials with large feet. This means that they are close relatives of the kangaroos and wallabies.
Image: © Aussie Ark
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