New South Wales’ first recorded sightings of the Long-footed Potoroo have been discovered in a state forest in Southern NSW.
Ecologists have spent many years trying to prove the existence of the endangered species in south-eastern parts of the state.
The rare, small marsupial had largely been thought to be restricted to Victoria’s East Gippsland region, after it was first recorded in 1967 when an adult male was caught in a dog trap in the forest south-west of Bonang, Victoria.
About 30 years ago, research surveys detected indirect evidence of the species in New South Wales from forest hair samples and within predator scats, but a living animal had not been detected until this image was captured on an infrared sensor motion camera at a survey site in the Bondi State Forest in June, 2023.
Forestry Corporation ecologists then detected potoroos at nine separate camera sites in the state forest after deploying 88 cameras over a three-week period.
Listed as an ‘endangered’ small marsupial, Long-footed potoroos rely predominantly on a diet of underground fungi. To lure the species to the camera survey sites, ecologists placed truffle oil on pads that were pegged into the ground.
Photographs of the endangered marsupial have since been verified by some of the country’s leading authorities on the Long-footed potoroo.
Forestry Corporation is continuing its monitoring programs in the Bondi State Forest studying the size of the identified potoroo population with the assistance of researchers from the Department of Planning and Environment.