Native animals

All creatures great and small

The Port Phillip and Western Port region is home to national icons like koalas, kangaroos and platypus as well as unique local species like the Helmeted Honeyeater and Leadbeater’s Possum.

Native animals play a vital role in keeping our ecosystems healthy and diverse and their habitats are connected in many ways. Every animal species supports the abundance or health of others and therefore, any loss of species threatens the health and resilience of ecosystems and their capacity to be productive and beneficial.

Native animals are important for various reasons:

  • Native animals are an indicator of healthy ecosystems, waterways and habitats – for example frogs in wetlands
  • Native animals play important roles in ecosystems by keeping some animals from becoming too numerous (predators), managing vegetation growth (weeds) or providing food, and recycling organic matter (decomposers)
  • The variety of native animals and the ecosystems in which they live contribute to the quality of life we have
  • Each year, thousands of tourists visit the region to see our native plants and animals.

The region’s native animals have suffered since European settlement, with close to 100 species becoming extinct and many other’s now considered endangered.