Wildlife Australia, December 1996
ISBN 0 6422 1395 X
This Action Plan lists 16 taxa as Extinct (EX), one as Extinct in the Wild (EW), five as Critically Endangered (CR), 17 as Endangered (EN), 31 as Vulnerable (VU), one as Lower Risk (conservation dependent) (LR(cd)), 41 as Lower Risk (near threatened) (LR(nt)), and three as Data Deficient (DD).
The proportion of the total number of taxa in each category is EX - 7.7%, EW - 0.5%, CR - 2.4%, EN - 8.1%, VU - 14.8%, LR(cd) - 0.5%, LR(nt) - 19.6%, DD - 1.4%. The proportion of threatened taxa (CR + EN + VU) of the total number of extant taxa (193) is 27.5%.
This Action Plan highlights the extraordinarily high proportion of Australian marsupials that are threatened with extinction. The main causes of extinction and decline in marsupials have been identified and include the introduction to Australia of predators such as the Red Fox and Feral Cat, the introduction of feral herbivores such as the Rabbit, habitat destruction through land clearing and changed fire regimes.
However, the Action Plan also shows that there have been significant improvements in the status of some species over the past decade through scientific research, and habitat and feral predator management. In the 1992 Action Plan, the Woylie (or Brush-tailed Bettong) was listed as Endangered; in this Action Plan it is listed as Lower Risk (conservation dependent) because its numbers and extent of occurrence have increased markedly through fox control and translocations. As well, knowledge about the ecology and conservation requirements of many taxa have greatly improved in recent years. Other significant changes from the 1992 Action Plan include the Numbat and Chuditch (Endangered to Vulnerable) also due to fox control and translocations.
This Action Plan, through the Recovery Outlines and Taxon Summaries, shows what needs to be done to conserve Australia's marsupials and monotremes. In most cases, what needs to be done is clear; what is needed is the commitment and resources to carry out the necessary work.
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