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Fire used to save the New Holland Mouse
29 April 2003

The New Holland Mouse is very small, quite cute and very vunerable. In fact, it is four steps away from extinction. To prevent this from happening, fire is now being used to ensure their survival.

Anglesea is one of only four locations in Victoria were the rare little marsupial is found. The other locations are Wilson Promontory, Loch Sport and Providence Ponds. It is also found in Tasmania.

Research has shown that the New Holland Mouse does best in recently burnt heathland. A regular fire regime reduces the dense undergrowth, thus allowing seed producing plants such as 'wattles and peas' to grow, providing a reliable food supply. After a fire, their numbers can build up quite quickly but as the plants and animals return, their numbers can drop off just as quickly.

Through the efforts of the Department of Sustainability & Environment (DSE), Parks Victoria, researchers, Deakin and La Trobe Universities, Alcoa, Gippsland Water and community groups, a recovery team has been put together to develop and implement a conservation management program that will hopefully ensure the survival of this little rodent.

An important part of the conservation management program took place today, along Forest Road at the back of Anglesea. 35 Parks and DSE firefighters from Anglesea, Lorne and Port Campbell along with their trucks, slip-ons and dozer, conducted a 93 hectare eco-burn.

As the fire controller, Lindsay explained, "the main reason for this eco-burn is to improve the habitat for the New Holland Mice. They live in areas which have been burnt 5 to 10 years previously. This fire will also benefit several rare orchids including the Daddy-long-legs Caladenia filamentosa".

Parks Victoria plan another eco-burn early next month in the O'Donahue area. Keep posted for further details.

Nicholas Soames

Map of where New Holland Mice are found

Contacts & Links
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Parks Victoria - 131 963 - http://www.parkweb.vic.gov.au/

Information about the New Holland Mouse

 

Burn-off reduces vegetation

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