History

In November 2001, a group of concerned local residents met in Albany, Western Australia, to discuss ways in which they could help save Gilbert's Potoroo from extinction. From this beginning, the Gilbert's Potoroo Action Group was incorporated in March 2002 with the following objectives To raise funds to assist in the recovery of Gilbert's Potoroo. To provide responsible information to promote local, national and international awareness. To encourage volunteers to assist in Gilbert's Potoroo research and recovery programs. Membership of Gilbert's Potoroo Action Group is open to anyone who wishes to further these objectives on payment of a small annual membership fee. A representative of Gilbert's Potoroo Action Group sits on the Gilbert's Potoroo Recovery Team, which oversees the implementation of the Gilbert's Potoroo Recovery Plan. Public Awareness Despite the fact that, with an estimated wild population of only 30 to 40 animals, Gilbert's Potoroo is Australia's rarest mammal and possibly the world's rarest mammal general public awareness of its plight seemed low, even locally, and so raising awareness locally, nationally and internationally became one of our first objectives. Starting in February 2002, with a simple photocopied flier and with the aid of Gilbey, we passed out information at the Albany Agricultural Show and at local markets. Gilbey was also on hand to pass out fliers at our sausage sizzle. In 2003 we were awarded a grant from the Western Australian Lotteries Commission to produce a brochure about Gilbert's Potoroo and the conservation efforts to save it. We decided that it would be good to involve local youth in the design process and so, after putting together a draft layout, we briefed students of the Digital Arts course at North Albany Senior High School. The students proposed a number of very interesting layout variations and with our continuing feedback a prefered layout was selected and refined. We are very happy with the final layout which is currently April 2004 at the printers. We believe that raising awareness among young people is particularly important and, to that end, deliver talks and information sessions in local schools on what we, as a community, can do to help Gilbert's Potoroo. We continue to keep Gilbert's Potoroo in the public eye by means of TV items Radio Interviews Newspaper articles and letters Pieces in the newsletters of various groups/bodies We also briefed our local MP, Peter Watson MLA, who then spoke on Gilbert's Potoroo in the WA Parliament. And finally, with the launch of our website, we can now get our message to all corners of the globe! Volunteer Assistance Several of the founder members of Gilbert's Potoroo Action Group had been involved, as volunteers, in work with the Gilbert's Potoroo Recovery Program and, since its formation, the group has continued to provide a ready source of volunteers to assist CALM in this work. Volunteer activities undertaken by members include Radio Tracking A number of potoroos are fitted with small radio transmitters and their positions and movements monitored from four radio tracking stations positioned around the colony. The stations are manned in 3 shifts of 6 hours, from 3pm to 9am each day, over a two week period. This information helps to determine home range size activity cycles diurnal/nocturnal nesting habits how home ranges relate to each other overlapping or separate how male and female home ranges relate Tracking known animals can also lead to other, unknown individuals. Population Monitoring To maintain uptodate information on the status of the population, monitoring of the main potoroo colonies is conducted by cage trapping every four months. Search for New Populations Continuing surveys of areas of dense habitat, particularly areas with quokka populations, using hairarching and trapping. Captive Colony Maintenance work at the captive colony pens includes Sand Change Remove soiled sand and replace with clean Changeout of nesting materials Maintenance of pen vegetation Truffle Collection Over 90 of the diet of Gilbert's Potoroo, in the wild, is made up of undergroundfruiting fungi. To supplement the diet of the captive colony potoroos, native and introduced species of these trufflelike fungi are collected from a number of local sites. Following on from this work, some GPAG members have also been involved in volunteer assistance to CALM with other rare and endangered fauna, including Dibblers Numbats RedTailed Phascogales Western Ground Parrot

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Founding Year:

2001

Ended:

Still active

Type of Group:

Action Group

Primary Focus:

Conservation

Geographic Sphere:

Local

Primary Location:

Australia

Albany