North East - Local Species
FloraMixed species eucalypt forest, varying from Red Stringybark on the drier sites to Blue Gum in the gullies and low lying areas, thrive in an environment that experiences significant seasonal variations in climate. However it is this very same forest environment that enables the region to support 2,000 species of plants and over 450 species of animals.
FaunaMost commonly seen native animals include kangaroos, swamp wallabies, echidnas, wombats and several species of possums and gliders. The Long-footed Potoroo and Mountain Pygmy Possum also live in the forests of the north east but are unlikely to be seen.
Interestingly, the echidna is an unusual native mammal related to the platypus, both of which are the only egg laying mammals in the world. The echidna, once mature, has a diet consisting predominately of ants, and has large, strong claws for digging and a protective covering of spines which are actually modified hairs.
The endangered Long-footed Potoroo was previously known only from East Gippsland and parts of NSW until the 80's when it was discovered in the north east. The Department of Environment and Primary Industries is actively working to assist the recovery of this species. DEPI has identified 12 areas for their protection called Special Management Areas. Eight of these areas burnt in the 2003 bushfires. Some of the threats to these ground-dwelling mammals are the loss of habitat and predation by foxes. A predator baiting program has been instigated as one of the Bushfire Recovery Projects and the Department of Primary Industries is assisting with the implementation of the baiting. An ongoing monitoring program will be used to assess the status of the populations, determine the effectiveness of this work and refine management actions.
Restricted solely to the alpine and subalpine areas of Victoria's North East, the Mountain Pygmy Possum was thought to be extinct prior to 1966. The Mountain Pygmy Possum, whilst the largest of the pygmy possum family, weighs only about 45g and can fit easily into the palm of a hand.