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GILBERT'S POTOROO - AUSTRALIA'S MOST ENDANGERED MAMMAL

Gilbert's Potoroo Action Group - Community Involvement


About Our Group Gilbey at Farmer's Market

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.

Group Activities

In line with the objectives of the group, our activities fall into three broad areas:

  1. Fund raising to assist Gilbert's Potoroo research and recovery programs.
  2. Promoting Public Awareness of the critically endangered status of Gilbert's Potoroo.
  3. Hands-on Volunteer Assistance in Gilbert's Potoroo research and recovery programs

GPAG photo
Click on the image to see another photo. Photos courtesy of GPAG members.

 

Fund Raising
Lack of funding is one of the greatest difficulties now facing the effort to save Gilbert's Potoroo and so fund raising is one of our key objectives. Our first fundraiser was a sausage sizzle at a local shopping centre. Besides raising over $400, we passed around information fliers (with the aid of "Gilbey", an adult-sized Gilbert's Potoroo costume) and generated a lot of local interest.

In late 2002, Gilbert's Potoroo Action Group, Albany Community Environment Centre and West Cape Howe Wines launched a special wine release, the South Coast Biodiversity Series, with Gilbert's Potoroo as the featured species of the first series. Potoroo Wine Label Premium red and white wines were offered (see label to left) and the promotion was a great success with well over 100 cases sold. Part proceeds of the sale were distributed between Gilbert's Potoroo Action Group and Albany Community Environment Centre with our share being over $4000. In 2003, the promotion was expanded to include a second endangered species, the Western Ground Parrot, and the participating winery was Jingalla Wines. Four wines were offered, a red and a white for each species, with the profits again being split, this time three ways to include the Friends of the Western Ground Parrot. Figures for this promotion will be reported in our Latest News section, when finalised.

We are hoping to make a wine promotion one of our regular fundraisers. Details of this and other fundraising activities will be posted in our Latest News section as they are announced. Return to Top of Page/ Menu

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 up-to-date 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 hair-arching 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 underground-fruiting fungi. To supplement the diet of the captive colony potoroos, native and introduced species of these truffle-like 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:

Help Us to Help Gilbert's Potoroo

Membership of Gilbert's Potoroo Action Group is open to anyone who wishes to help save Gilbert's Potoroo from extinction and our annual membership subscription is currently only $10 (Australian dollars). The group currently meets once a month in Albany, Western Australia, however all members also have access to our Potoroo Group mailing list where we post group meeting agendas and minutes, notices and news. Opportunities for volunteer work with the recovery program are generally first notified to the group through the list and members can also use the list to discuss ideas and proposals for group activities and strategies.

Lack of funding is one of the greatest difficulties now facing the effort to save Gilbert's Potoroo and so fund raising is one of the three key objectives of our group. Gilbert's Potoroo Action Group is a not-for-profit community volunteer organisation; none of our members or officers are paid by the group, so if you make a donation to our group you can be sure that the money will be used directly to progress actions identified in the Gilbert's Potoroo Recovery Plan.

To join Gilbert's Potoroo Action Group or to make a donation please fill out our subscription/donation form which also gives our payment details.

Members will also receive, via the Group mailing list, our Potoroo Postings newsletter. You can download a sample issue of our newsletter by clicking one of the links below:
Potoroo Postings, Issue 1 , 2008
Potoroo Postings, Issue 2 , 2009
Potoroo Postings, Issue 3 , 2010
Potoroo Postings, Issue 4 , 2010
Potoroo Postings, Issue 5 , 2011
Potoroo Postings, Issue 6 , 2012
Potoroo Postings, Issue 7 , 2012

Contact Us

GILBERT'S POTOROO ACTION GROUP INC.
PO Box 654
Albany
Western Australia 6331

  • For any queries relating to membership of our group or donations/sponsorship to help Gilbert's Potoroo please contact our treasurer:

    Mob: 0409 443331
  • General queries relating to our group and the work we are doing to help Gilbert's Potoroo should be directed through our secretary:
  • If you think you may have seen a Gilbert's Potoroo, or found animal remains which you think is a Gilbert's Potoroo, please check our sightings page which gives guidance on distinguishing Potoroos from similar animals and complete the online sighting report; alternatively, you can note down the sighting details as listed on the page and contact us at:
  • For any feedback/comments regarding our website, contact our webmaster: