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The endangered Mountain Pygmy-possum Burramys parvus is an alpine-subalpine specialist and the only Australian mammal entirely restricted to areas above the winter snowline. There are three geographically isolated populations of B. parvus: Kosciuszko National Park (South Ramshead - Cabramurra) in New South Wales, and Mt Bogong - Mt Higginbotham and Mt Buller in Victoria. Populations have shown signs of rapid decline over the last 15 years. The duration of snow cover and time of snow melt appear to be linked to the survival rate of the Mountain Pygmy-possum which is under severe threat from climate change. Here we discuss its life history, extinction threats and the potential value of the fossil record in identifying conservation options for the Mountain Pygmy-possum. Also presented is a proposal to establish a breeding facility for the rapidly declining Kosciuszko population in New South Wales. This breeding facility would firstly provide a safety net for unanticipated disasters in the alpine and subalpine zone that might occur in the short term. Secondly, the facility would provide an opportunity to address concerns that climate change will eventually transform the subalpine-alpine zone, making it unsuitable for further survival of B. parvus populations. To address this concern, we propose breeding surplus individuals that could be experimentally acclimatised for release into alternate environments.

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