It’s time for our final update on the Australian Mammal of the year category leader boards before voting closes next week on the 10th of August. There’s not long to go now, so if you want the tides to turn in favour of your favourite mammal you’d better vote early and vote often!
There’s been incredible movement among the macropods. Living up to the category title and taking macropods to the max is Gilbert’s Potoroo – unexpectedly doubling its votes in the last week to unseat the Quokka from its out of the blocks-lead.
It seems there’s a battle of the Western Australian natives here, Gilbert’s Potoroo leaping ahead with the Quokka’s support having hit the handbrakes. But which will have the legs to last the distance and represent the great state in the finalists? Or could one of our underdogs, like the antilopine wallaroo or red-necked pademelon, hop up unexpectedly in the final stretch?
There’s also been a switcheroo at the top of the leader board in the bats category, with the spectacled flying-fox (27% of the votes) swooping ahead of the grey-headed flying-fox in an ongoing back-and-forth for the top position.
Trailing behind in third place by only 31 votes, the ghost bat is hanging in there, but will it get the boost needed to fly up to the top position in time for the finals?
And some of the lesser-known batty battlers – like the large-footed myotis, bare-backed fruit bat, and eastern-tube nosed bat – never really got the wind beneath their wings. Last minute voting block aside, it’s likely your last chance to see these charismatic creatures this year.
It’s looking less and less likely that the hopping mice, both dusky (14%) and Mitchell’s (12%), will manage to get the jump on their semi-aquatic opponent – unless our mammal enthusiasts organise a determined effort to get them there of course!
Unlike the rakali, other rats such as the handsomely hirsute golden-backed tree rat, delightfully denticled broad-toothed rat, and bogul (bush rat) just aren’t receiving the same love from the public and stay languishing at the end positions.
Not much has changed for our beloved burrowers in the past week, with the greater bilby (27%) and southern hairy-nosed wombat (25%) still leaving the rest of their subterranean rivals in the dust. A good one to watch on the final week: will the waddling wombat put on a late turn of speed, or can the bilby hold it off?
The same can be said for the delightful dasyurids. The northern quoll doesn’t seem to be heading south any time soon, with almost a quarter of the vote tally. The Tasmanian devil, eastern quoll, and spotted-tailed quoll can still be found in second, third, and fourth place, trailing at least 10% behind.
Splish-splashing comfortably in front of the rest of the marine mammals is the dugong, and with 37% of the vote the rest of Australia’s whales, dolphins, and seals need a huge helping hand if they’re to stand a chance of toppling this maritime master.
Perusing our precious possums, the tiny sugar glider and mountain pygmy possum remain racing neck-and-neck to be crowned winner of the category – with 21% and 20% of the votes, respectively. There’s daylight between them and the next highest climbing contestants, as the greater glider and Leadbeater’s possum bring up third and fourth place. And spare a thought (and an extra vote) for the scaly-tailed possum, barely hanging in there at the bottom of the bunch with just 1% of the votes.
For this weekend we’ve opened up the voting blocks to show the current percentage counts for each of the species. So keep an eye out and if you don’t like what you see, VOTE!
Australian Mammal of the Year Voting is now open!
Visit our voting page here to learn more about the categories and to vote for your picks for Australian Mammal of the Year.
Imma Perfetto is a science writer at Cosmos. She has a Bachelor of Science with Honours in Science Communication from the University of Adelaide.
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