With all that has come of 2019/2020, the bushfires spread throughout the lands of Australia was one of the most destructive bushfires to happen there. Statista reports that “almost 13 million hectares of land were burned in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory“.
The fires are reported to have started in October of 2019 and the last fires being extinguished in February 2020. These Bushfires left behind extensive damage all over Australia, destroying miles and miles of land, thousands of buildings, and it is “estimated that 1.5 billion wildlife animals” were killed.
However, as recovery teams are tending to the land, they are discovering plants and animals who were strong enough to survive.
One of those animals that proved mighty enough to survive may just surprise you.
The animal that has been discovered almost one year later by an Aussie conservation group, Kangaroo Island Land for Wildlife is the little creature called the pygmy possum. Although tiny, they have proved they are mighty!
A Fauna ecologist by the name of Pat Hodgens tells Australian Broadcasting Compay (ABC) ,
“There’s only really been 113 formal records of the species [ever on Kangaroo Island],”
Pygmy Possums really define what it means to be tiny but mighty, weighing in at only 7 grams.
Weighing only a mere 7 grams and measuring approximately 10 centimeters pygmy possums are reported as the world’s smallest possum. They usually reside in Tasmania, Kangaroo Island, and can be found near the mainland of South Australia and Victoria.
Including the pygmy possums, more than 20 other wildlife species have been found!
The Aussie conservation group was completing an extensive forest survey to discover any and all species left. Hodgens continues discussing with ABC,
“It’s very important now because it is kind of like the last refuge for a lot of these species that really rely on very old long, unburned vegetation,”
Along with these very tiny, cute creatures it is reported that more than 20 other wildlife species have been found as well! Species such as the bibrons toadlet, a southern brown bandicoot, and a tammar wallaby However, there are still concerns about other rare species that have yet to be found.
Through adversity, animals and plants native to this land are finding ways to not only survive but to thrive.
Although there was extensive damage to the land some plants and animal species have the ability to thrive in these conditions. A managing director of Exceptional Kangaroo Island, Craig Wickham, explains to Newsweek how, actually, some plants need fire to reproduce,
“Some plants need fire to reproduce, and billions of seeds have fallen post-fire into the open ash beds, which provide the perfect conditions for germination and these plants are now growing rapidly across the Island,”
Wickham states even some animals have increased as well such, as the Southern brown bandicoot who are enjoying the truffles that grow around the roots of the now burned vegetation.
Australia and its inhabitants are doing everything they possibly can with hopes of regeneration and recovery.
In addition, Exceptional Kangaroo Island has been planting trees to assist the regeneration efforts for the future. Wickham states,
“We’ve been tree planting to help provide habitat for wildlife after the fires as a way to look out for our future. Plants provide the framework of our wildlife habitat — and the impact is significant for individual animals, and at a population level. We incorporate fire ecology into the storytelling on our tours so that guests get a deep understanding of the recovery on the island.”
It is within times of struggle we remember just how powerful we are when we join together to create change or help provide relief.
As millions around the world watched the devastation take place, there was one thing we could all do to provide relief and that was donating. So, as thousands around the world pulled out their wallets, millions came flooding in.
This money has not only gone to helping the land but also to supporting the teams on the ground, helping communities, and providing their immediate needs, as well as, providing whatever is needed for their long-term recovery which is said to take many years.
These pygmy possums are the reminder we needed as we continue through 2020.
Although the world is still struggling, there is also healing and discoveries being made. With discoveries such as these cute little creatures, we are reminded that even the smallest of us have the strength to make it through even the worst situations.
The status of the little pygmy possum (cercartetus lepidus) was unknown pre 2020 bushfires on #kangarooisland. With most of its habitat severely burnt we are happy to have detected the species for the first time since the fires in the largest unburnt patch #BushfireRecoveryAU pic.twitter.com/tSRjPunDZ8
— Pat Hodgens (@terrainecology) December 4, 2020
So here’s to the pygmy possums and to all of us around the world finding our strength during the toughest of times.
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