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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 (GPAG) 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 and acceptance by the Committee. This membership fee helps to support the administrative costs of running the group (such as Public Liability and Volunteer Insurances). Members receive the quarterly newsletter, email notification of upcoming events and volunteer opportunities, and all adult members have voting rights at the Annual General Meeting to help guide the direction of the Group. Proxy votes and attendance via phone are allowed for those who cannot attend the AGM which is usually held in Albany.
Gilbert’s Potoroo Recovery Team: 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 (2016). Objective 3 on page 30 of the Recovery Plan – To increase the awareness of, and support for the recovery of Gilbert’s potoroo – lists GPAG as one of the parties with responsibility for implementing the actions to achieve that objective. GPAG takes this responsibility very seriously and endeavours to raise awareness of the plight of Gilbert’s potoroo through events, social media posts and this website, as well as undertaking fundraising activities and applying for grants to support the implementation of the Recovery Plan.
In line with the objectives of the group, and GPAG’s responsibilities under Objective 3 of the 2016 Recovery Plan, our activities fall into three broad areas:
Fundraising to assist Gilbert’s Potoroo research and recovery programs.
Promoting Public Awareness of the Critically Endangered status of Gilbert’s Potoroo.
Hands-on Volunteer Assistance in Gilbert’s Potoroo research and recovery programs.
Lack of sufficient, consistent funding is one of the greatest difficulties facing the effort to save Gilbert’s Potoroo and so fundraising is the first of our key objectives. GPAG is also one of the interested parties listed in the 2016 Gilberts Potoroo Recovery Plan as having responsibility to Seek resources to undertake Gilberts potoroo recovery. GPAG raises funds through a range of activities including:
Applying for grants
Stalls and fundraising events such as quiz nights
Partnerships with fundraising organisations such as Urban Descent and Edge Pledge
Selling of potoroo themed merchandise
An annual wine fundraiser in partnership with Jingalla wines
Having sufficient funds is essential to implement recovery actions but, as the recovery plan notes, the ability to raise funds will be determined by the level of awareness and involvement of the community and all levels of government. Raising awareness of the plight of Gilberts potoroo is therefore the second of our key objectives. The Recovery plan again lists GPAG as one of the interested parties having responsibility to develop and apply education and promotion programs about Gilberts potoroos and to Promote the plight of Gilberts potoroo and the recovery actions required to all levels of government, NRM groups and non-government organisations. Our public awareness activities are therefore just as important as both fundraising and volunteering in directly addressing Objective 3 of the Recovery plan. GPAG attempts to raise awareness of the plight of Gilberts Potoroo through:
Providing accurate and up to date information through this website
Regular posts on social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube
Presentations at schools and universities and at professional conferences
Media interviews (both radio and television)
Hosting Edith Cowan University Work Integrated Learning students
Our third objective is to encourage volunteers to participate in Gilberts Potoroo research and recovery programs. Since the group was incorporated in 2002 GPAG volunteers have contributed tens of thousands of hours of volunteer time to help save Gilberts Potoroo. The Recovery plan lists GPAG as one of the interested parties having responsibility to Provide opportunities for participation in the Gilberts Potoroo recovery program with the specific aim of increasing participation by volunteers and interest groups. The recovery program encompasses not just field work but also fundraising and awareness raising so all the activities described above are also forms of volunteering that contribute to the recovery program.
Over the years GPAG volunteers have contributed directly to research and management through:
Searching for additional populations of Gilberts Potoroo outside Two Peoples Bay using hair tubes and arches
Working with DBCA scientists and fungi specialist Katrina Syme to carry out fungi surveys at Two Peoples Bay to learn more about the diet of the potoroos
Assisting DBCA staff in the feeding and monitoring of captive animals
Collecting various species of underground fungi to help supplement the captive diet
Carrying out periodic substrate changes to replace the sand in the captive colony to remove uneaten food and prevent the build up of faeces that could lead to disease.
Assisting DBCA scientists with intensive all-night radio tracking of Potoroos at Two Peoples Bay to help learn more about their home ranges and habitat use
Assisting DBCA staff with trapping to monitor the Potoroos at Two Peoples Bay, Bald Island, Middle Island and in the Waychinicup enclosure. (sourced from website 2/11/2021)