All possums are cute, but the Leadbeater's possum might just be the cutest. This small possum was named after John Leadbeater – the taxidermist at Melbourne Museum when they were discovered in 1867. The possum is endemic to the forests outside of Melbourne and also holds the proud position of Victoria’s faunal emblem. The Leadbeater's possum is critically endangered, however (the tree hollows it lives in are threatened by logging and bushfire), and was actually thought to be extinct until rediscovered in 1961. Luckily, efforts are underway to save the possum. “Zoos Victoria is committed to fighting extinction for this possum, and Healesville Sanctuary is currently the only institution in the world housing Leadbeater’s possums in captivity,” says Parrott.
Possum fact: Leadbeater’s possums are big believers in the nuclear family. “Leadbeater’s possums usually live in small family groups comprising a single breeding pair and their young,” says Parrott.
How to help: These possums like to live in old tree hollows, so opt for recycled toilet paper to minimise logging. Make sure to keep your cat indoors too, as they can prey on forest-dwelling wildlife.