Members will remember the article by Associate Professor Barbara Wilson (Deakin University) in the November 2020 Newsletter about the Swamp Antechinus, Antechinus minimus, which is listed as Vulnerable under the EPBC Act (1999).
The distribution and abundance of this small marsupial has declined significantly in the past 20 years to very small remnant populations in refuges such as coastal dunes and valleys. The last population in the Painkalac Creek was recorded by Deakin in 2001.
However, a recently discovered small body on the Painkalac Creek land being revegetated by Michael Loughnan in conjunction with ANGAIR, has been positively identified by Barbara as a Swamp Antechinus. ANGAIR is currently applying for a Wild Otways Initiative grant from the Corangamite Catchment Authority and if successful will allow the land to become a refuge for this endangered species. Further work will enable us to discover if there is a significant population living in the valley. This will complement the work being done over the next two years under the CCMA Wild Otway Initiative to identify and protect remnant populations of EPBC listed endangered mammal species across the Otways and hinterland.
Michael has also provided a short update on the project as follows:
Thanks so much to you all for your fantastic help in 2020.
Despite the extra challenges of COVID we managed to get in over 3400 plants (now over 4500 planted) and sow around half an acre of native grass seed for the year.
As well as sowing plants we’ve had many native plants coming back naturally, especially in the billabong.
You’ve probably heard we have found the threatened species the Swamp Antechinus on the block and last week photographed a Rakali swimming along an adjacent section of the Painkalac Creek. I like to think we’re creating a little biodiversity hot spot. We’re planning to continue planting in 2022 and to extend the grassland.