Threatened species found on Cape Otway for the first time in 16 years

News > Our Patron and Board

While working on his farm recently a local landowner came across a small carnivorous marsupial, which he was curious about and brought in to show us here at the Conservation Ecology Centre.

Males of the Agile Antechinus and Dusky Antechinus species are often found dead at this time of year when the males have exhausted themselves in the breeding season.

But on closer inspection, the particular male did not look like either of those species…

And indeed, it was confirmed to be a Swamp Antechinus – a threatened species last recorded on Cape Otway 16 years ago.

“We are very excited to have seen evidence that this species still exists here, and are so grateful for this landowner for sharing his discovery with us,” said CEC Ecologist, Mark Le Pla.

Although much smaller, the Swamp Antechinus is a relative of the quolls and the Tasmanian Devil. It is predominantly found in Tasmania with only a few populations still persisting in Victoria including here in the Otways – where it is listed as Vulnerable under the federal Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act.

Antechinus live short, action packed lives. Females rarely survive beyond two years, while males generally only live for one breeding season where they expend all their energy on fighting and mating – ignoring the need to feed until they eventually succumb to exhaustion!

Find out what other species are hiding in the Otways, then test your knowledge with our quiz and you’ll go in the running to win a dusk walk to meet the animals at the Conservation Ecology Centre.

Banner image: Trevor Pescott