The ACT looks set to get its own mammal emblem with the eastern bettong, the brush-tailed rock wallaby and the echidna likely to be among the contenders for territory honours.
While NSW is home to the platypus emblem, Queensland has the koala, South Australians love their hairy-nosed wombats and all the other states and territories get to enjoy their own mammal, the ACT has long been missing out.
The ACT Government has decided to rectify this and plans to consult Canberrans about whether there should be a mammal emblem and which animal they think would be a good fit.
At the next sitting of the Legislative Assembly, Chief Minister Andrew Barr plans to move a motion for the Standing Committee on Environment and Transport and City Services to get community feedback on the matter through a “brief and inexpensive community engagement process”.
“One obvious candidate is the near-threatened eastern bettong,” Mr Barr said.
“In the 1920s the tiny species became extinct on the mainland due to the introduction of rabbits and foxes.
“Luckily they managed to survive in Tasmania and in 2012 a small population was reintroduced at the Mulligans Flat Woodland Sanctuary here in Canberra, where they appear to be doing well.”
Mr Barr said that another candidate is the brush-tailed rock wallaby.
“With just 40 left in the wild, Canberra’s Tidbinbilla Nature Park is doing its best to increase the species chances of survival by introducing it to their national breeding program,” he said.
“The aim is to increase the captive population to 200 before releasing more of the mammals into the wild.
“Choosing an animal such as the eastern bettong or the brush-tail rock wallaby will likely bring conservation benefits, by raising awareness to help ensure its survival into the future.
“This has proven successful in other states where an endangered mammal has been adopted as an emblem, such as the Tasmanian devil in Tasmania in 2015.”
Once the ACT’s new mammal emblem is decided on it will join the ranks of our floral and faunal emblems which include the Royal Bluebell which flowers in Canberra from late October to February and the gang-gang cockatoo which was first considered by a Standing Committee in 1996 before it was adopted by the Legislative Assembly a year later.
Which mammal would you like to see become the ACT’s new emblem? Let us know in the comments below.