Image: © Brad Leue/ Australian Wildlife Conservancy

Eastern Pygmy Possums Move in to Harbourside Homes


The Animal Facts Editorial Team


April 11, 2023 9:24 pm


Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

A dozen eastern pygmy possums have made the move to a new postcode with million dollar views over Sydney Harbour assisted by a little help from the team at the Australian Wildlife Conservancy. Working alongside the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust (Harbour Trust) the possums have been moved from two national parks in Sydney to restore populations of the locally extinct species.

Beginning in February teams worked to locate 12 individuals from Ku-ring-gai Chase and Garigal National Parks which could make the move. The ongoing efforts to relocate species to North Head Sanctuary serve to help protect the population of threatened banksia plants found in the sanctuary.

Once the possums were located they were given a health check by AWC ecologists before being packed in to a travel crate for the 45 minute drive to North Head.

The images on this page feature Wallum, an eastern pygmy possum translocated on April 5 2023. He was taken from his travel crate and moved to a pre-selected next box. Named after the wallum banksia and nicknamed, Wally the little fellow was provided a supplementary feed of honey before release.

Executive Director of the Harbour Trust, Janet Carding welcomed the new individuals, saying that these little creatures play a significant role in protecting the critically endangered Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub.


“As pollinators, Eastern Pygmy Possums perform the important task of moving pollen between the diverse Banksias on the headland,” Carding explained. "We are delighted to be working with AWC to strengthen the population of this species at North Head Sanctuary.”


“North Head's delicate ecosystem is home to a rich diversity of flora and fauna, and its preservation is central to the Harbour Trust's mission. Protecting these native species is so important."

Three of the individuals released at North Head, including Wally, were fitted with radio transmitters allowing researchers to track their movements as they settle in. These are the M1410 series miniature mammal collars from Advanced Telemetry Systems Australia, one of the smallest radio tracking collars currently available.  

“Given the small size of Wally and North Head Sanctuary’s other new residents, they can often be difficult to locate once released into the wild,” explained Aiden Wright, AWC Field Ecologist. “Fitting them with collars equally as small will help us monitor them during that critical 3-4 week post-release period. The ability to track the animals post-release provides useful information in terms of their movement patterns and home range sizes.”

AWC first began releasing eastern pygmy possums at North Head Sanctuary in 2016 and the population has grown steadily since. In 2022 49 individuals were counted more than double those counted in 2021.

Continuing releases are necessary to strengthen the population as Aiden explained, “Supplementation of the species is vital for the establishment of the population at North Head Sanctuary. Adding new breeding adults to the population is vital for introducing new genetic diversity as the species continues to expand on the headland."


Ecologists will follow up on the newly introduced individuals during a post-release survey in the coming months. Aiden expects they will have adapted to the new environment and commenced the process of adding new Eastern Pygmy Possums to the population.

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Our Favourite Eastern Pygmy Possum Fact!

Weighing less than a golf ball the tiny eastern pygmy possums spend their day in a small spherical nest which they will form out of bark or inside a tree hollow. They emerge at night to undertake their foraging.

Image: © Brad Leue/ Australian Wildlife Conservancy

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