Gippsland Water
Gippsland Water logo

Mouse matchmakers bring native back from the brink

Home / Media/Notices / Media releases / 2022 / 06 / Mouse matchmakers bring native back from the brink /

COR 13 82719  New Holland Mouse.JPG

Mouse matchmakers bring native back from the brink

A tiny endangered native mouse has a big future thanks to the Andrews Labor Government’s ongoing investment into Victoria’s precious biodiversity.

Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio today announced a new breeding program which pairs Pookila – coupling the native mice to regenerate the wild population.

The Victorian Pookila Captive Breeding and Reintroduction Program will see genetically diverse breeding pairs matched and housed at Melbourne Zoo and Moonlit Sanctuary with the eventual goal of releasing the offspring.

Derived from the Ngarigo word for ‘mouse’ – bugila – Pookila (pronounced: POO-kee-lah) was adopted by the Federal Government in 1995 as the Indigenous name for the species formally known as the New Holland Mouse.

The small, burrowing rodents, native to south-eastern Australia, are endangered in Victoria. Similar in size to the introduced House Mouse, they can be distinguished by their large eyes, rounded ears, a bi-coloured pink and dusky brown tail, and the absence of 'mousey' odour.

Seven of the known Victorian populations have become extinct in the last decades, with sites shrinking to just five across the Gippsland region, including at Wilson’s Promontory National Park.

The population decline is due to habitat loss including from drought and bushfire, feral predators, competition from non-native rodent species and loss of genetic diversity.

To combat this, a team of scientists has ‘paired’ – specially matched based on where they were collected, their genetic diversity and behaviour – 22 of the 3,000 mice that remain in Victoria.

The Program aims to breed more genetically healthy and resilient mice that can be released into the wild, strengthening existing populations and creating new ones.

The Labor Government has invested more than $305 million in Zoos Victoria since 2014. Over the same period, the Government has invested more than $560 million into protecting biodiversity – more than any other in Victorian history. It halts the decline of Victoria’s plants and animals through its landmark plan Biodiversity 2037.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio

“We’re making record investments into biodiversity so our unique native species – big and small – can thrive in the wild for generations to come.”

“We’re proud to use the Ngarigo name for this adorable native mouse and to be investing in its future.”

Quotes attributable to Zoos Victoria Native Rodent Biologist Dr Phoebe Burns

“It’s exciting to be able to make a real difference in the long-term conservation of this gorgeous native mouse.”

Quotes attributable to Moonlit Sanctuary Founder/Director Michael Johnson

“Moonlit Sanctuary is thrilled to invest in the recovery of another threatened Victorian species.”


Gippsland Water's involvement

As one of the largest land managers in Gippsland, we have an important role to play in helping to protect native flora and fauna – including the endangered Pookila

We know our customers expect us to act as stewards of our local environment to protect scarce resources for future generations.

We’re proud to be partnering with Zoos Victoria and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning to help preserve and care for the endangered Pookila, and to host and care for one of only five remaining populations in Victoria.


Share this page on your own social media pages:  

All media enquiries:

Please contact our Communications and Engagement team using our media enquiry form



Other news articles

About Us

Gippsland Water supplies fresh clean drinking water to more than 70,000 customers, and wastewater services to more than 63,000 customers across an area of more than 5,000 square kilometres. It maintains a $1 billion infrastructure network, which includes more than 2,000 kilometres of water mains, 15 water treatment plants, over 1,700 kilometres of sewer mains and 14 wastewater treatment plants.

Read More

Free drinking water initiative

Did you know that you can access free tap water at refill locations across the Latrobe Valley?

Find out more

Contact Us

55 Hazelwood Road, Traralgon, VIC, 3844

Phone: 1800 050 500

Fax: (03) 5174 0103

Interpreter service: 1313 450


TTY: 1800 555 677

Email: contactus@gippswater.com.au