The animal population at Aussie Ark’s Barrington Tops wildlife sanctuary continues to grow with 20 long-nosed potoroos released.
Aussie Ark has one of the world’s most important ‘insurance populations’ of the species, safeguarded in its 400-hectare feral-proof sanctuary.
It was in this idyllic setting that over 30 visitors gathered to help release the critters into the bush to enjoy a life as free and safe as any potoroo could dream of.
Managing Director Liz Gabriel was pleased to welcome extra help for the operation.
“The highlight for me was seeing kids fall in love with the long-nosed potoroo,” Ms Gabriel said.
“It was so special to see people engage with this species and learn about them. Most Australians don’t have any idea what they are.”
The species has been decimated in the wild by feral predators, land clearing and bushfire and is currently listed as vulnerable.
All of the potoroos released were born and bred at the Ark and Co-Managing Director Tim Faulkner said their role as an ‘ecosystem terrestrial engineer’ is critical for the health of the Australian bush, with their foraging helping oxygenate and moisturise the soil, aid in decomposition, and reduce fuel load, thereby reducing the instance and severity of fire.
“It’s said we’re tipping into another El Nino cycle and that can lead to years of drought and fire, so the work of potoroos in forests is critical,” he said.