Australia gift to Britain's new princess to help pygmy possums

Australia gift to Britain's new princess to help pygmy possums

SYDNEY - Australia will send a fine woollen blanket embroidered with yellow flowers to Britain's new princess, but the royal baby will also be honoured with a more unusual gift - support for a rare possum.

Fervent royalist Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the cot blanket made from Tasmanian merino wool and stitched with the nation's floral emblem, the wattle, would be sent to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge after their new baby arrived on Saturday.

In honour of the princess's birth, the government will also donate Aus$10,000 (US$7,826) to a Victorian state wildlife sanctuary to support research into the Mountain Pygmy-possum (Burramys parvus), an unusual creature thought extinct until 1966.

"The Mountain Pygmy-possum is Australia's only hibernating marsupial. There are fewer than 2,000 left in the wild," Abbott said of the endangered animal which can fit into the palm of a human hand and weighs only 45 grams.

"I hope one day the princess can visit Australia and hold a Mountain Pygmy-possum herself."

The animal-themed gift chimes with Australia's presents to older brother George on his birth in 2013, when the baby prince was given a crocodile which hatched on the day his conception was announced.

In addition, George was sent a copy of the popular children's book "Possum Magic" and a stuffed toy bilby, with funding for a research project into that tiny marsupial also donated in his honour.

The princess, who is fourth in line to the British throne, was born in London on Saturday, triggering global interest including in Australia where her great-grandmother Queen Elizabeth II is head of state.

More about

Purchase this article for republication.



Your daily good stuff - AsiaOne stories delivered straight to your inbox
By signing up, you agree to our Privacy policy and Terms and Conditions.