National recovery plan for the Grassland Earless Dragon (Tympanocryptis pinguicolla)
ACT Department of Territory and Municipal Services, 2009
- National recovery plan for the Grassland Earless Dragon (Tympanocryptis pinguicolla) (PDF - 1,009 KB) | (Word - 538 KB)
The Grassland Earless Dragon (Tympanocryptis pinguicolla) is a specialist inhabitant of native temperate grasslands, which have been greatly depleted since European settlement (less than 1% remain). The species is currently now known to be extant only in the ACT and adjacent parts of the southern highlands of NSW. It may have declined to extinction in Victoria. Consequently, the Grassland Earless Dragon is recognised as endangered throughout its range.
The main factors involved in the decline of the Grassland Earless Dragon are thought to be loss and fragmentation of habitat due to urban, industrial or agricultural development. In remaining areas of habitat, ongoing degradation processes have included: ploughing, changed fire regimes, changed grazing regimes (introduced and native grazers), weed invasion, use of agricultural chemicals, rock removal, and the impacts of introduced animals, either by predation or by grazing. These threats continue, to varying degrees, at all known sites. Development proposals also are imminent for a number of known sites.
Survey and monitoring of Grassland Earless Dragon populations has occurred over the past two decades on an ad-hoc basis or as part of longer-term monitoring programs in all range jurisdictions by State and Territory conservation agencies and environmental consultants, which has resulted in good knowledge of the species current distribution and abundance, and in some cases annual trends in population sizes.
Because the Grassland Earless Dragon is now known from so few sites, and its former distribution has been so reduced and fragmented, all remaining known occurrences are considered critical to the survival of the species, and should not be compromised.
A National Recovery Team for the Grassland Earless Dragon was established in December 1996, responsible for guiding the implementation of the National Recovery Plan. The National Recovery Team considers that any development at sites known to support populations of the Grassland Earless Dragon, or at sites from which the species has been recorded in the past, would be inappropriate until a national system of reserves and managed areas is established to fulfil the primary objective of this recovery plan.
This recovery plan updates and replaces the plan adopted under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 in 2001.
The primary, long-term, recovery objective of this plan is to ensure the ability of the Grassland Earless Dragon to survive, flourish and maintain its potential for evolutionary development in the wild, across its natural geographic range. Implicit in this is the immediate objective of ensuring the long-term survival of the species throughout its extant distribution. Criteria against which to measure the success of the plan are:
- Viable populations of Grassland Earless Dragon in all jurisdictions are maintained in systems of reserves and/or areas managed specifically for their conservation, and are able to be maintained in the long-term.
- The nature of the known threats is recognised and managed to ensure the long-term survival of these populations.
To achieve the objectives of this plan, recovery actions are designed to (i) acquire baseline ecological and biological data, (ii) assess habitat condition, including ecological and biological function, (iii) manage habitat and protect populations to maintain or increase their size, and (iv) to engage the community in recovery actions. On-ground site management will aim to mitigate threatening processes and thereby insure against extinction. The National Recovery Team considers that translocation would not currently be a useful conservation measure for inclusion in the recovery program, and that it should not be contemplated until the ecology of the species is better understood.
Because of the difficulties with ameliorating all threats, down-listing of the conservation status of all populations may not be realistic within the life of this recovery plan.
Variation to Recovery Plan
The following variation was made to this recovery plan by the Australian Capital Territory Government in October 2012, and given effect for the purposes of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 on 21 February 2013:
In Appendix I, on page 47, under Known populations in the ACT:
- In ' 1. East and West of Jerrabomberra Valley
("Woden", "Callum Brae", "Harman", "Bonshaw", "Cookanalla"). '
' , "AMTECH" ' has been inserted after ' "Cookanalla" '
- ' 3. AMTECH - proposed Stage 2 of industrial estate. ' has been deleted.