Action Plan for Australian Marsupials and Monotremes

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Wildlife Australia, December 1996
ISBN 0 6422 1395 X

Recovery Outline Northern Hairy-nosed Wombat

Recovery Outline

Northern Hairy-nosed Wombat

1 Family: Vombatidae

2 Scientific Name: Lasiorhinus krefftii (Owen, 1872)

3 Common Name: Northern Hairy-nosed Wombat

4 Conservation status: Critically Endangered: B1+2c,D

5 Intra-specific taxa:


6 Former distribution:

From Deniliquin in south-central NSW north to Mt Douglas in central Qld.

7 Current distribution:

Epping Forest National Park, 120 km north-west of Clermont in central Qld Epping Forest National Park, 120 km north-west of Clermont in central Qld.

8 Habitat:

Deep alluvial soils and open eucalypt woodlands along inland river systems.

9 Reasons for decline:

Extensive broad-scale habitat destruction and competition with cattle and sheep, particularly during droughts.

10 Additional studies required for recovery objectives and actions to be defined:

None, Recovery Plan has been prepared for the period 1993-1997 (Horsup and Davidson 1994).

11 Recovery objectives:

To ensure that the species' range and abundance increase in Epping Forest NP, and to establish at least one other geographically separate and viable population.

12 Management actions completed or under way:

Eleven management actions have been identified and are under way:

12.1 Appointment of full-time Recovery Manager. This person is responsible for coordinating and implementing the Recovery Plan, making all relevant information available to recovery personnel, obtaining funding for the Recovery Plan, and undertaking research and monitoring.

12.2 Study of population ecology. Develop an accurate, low disturbance census technique, monitor population dynamics and body condition, and predict future population trends by developing models which account for a variety of management strategies.

12.3 Study of feeding ecology. Determine the seasonal diet, body condition, and activity patterns of L. krefftii, and the seasonal diet of the Eastern Grey Kangaroo (Macropus giganteus) on Epping Forest NP and relate these to pasture dynamics.

12.4 Study of field energetics and water turnover. Evaluate the energy and water budgets of L. krefftii on a seasonal basis and relate these to the results of the feeding ecology study.

12.5 Study of conservation genetics. This study will determine levels of genetic variation within the population, genetic substructuring of the population, the degree of inbreeding which is occurring, individual variation in reproductive output, relatedness of individuals, lineages, and the difference in genetic variation between L. krefftii and L. latifrons.

12.6 Study of reproductive biology. The closely related Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat is being used to develop reproductive techniques, including the extraction of reproductive hormones from blood, cross-fostering of pouch young to enhance reproductive output, and semen collection and cryopreservation. Some of these techniques are now being trialed on the Northern Hairy-nosed Wombat.

12.7 Monitor predators and competitors. Dingoes have been demonstrated to eat L. krefftii (at least as carrion). M. giganteus is the most common large grazing herbivore on the park. The abundance of both species is monitored regularly on the park.

12.8 Habitat Management. Research into the optimal management strategy for wombat habitat commenced in 1994. This includes developing methods to reduce Buffel Grass infestation and improve native pastures near selected burrow groups.

12.9 Supplementary feeding. Develop methods to improve reproductive output by trialing supplementary feeds and water provision on Epping Forest NP.

12.10 Translocation. Locate sites for the establishment of future Northern Hairy-nosed Wombat colonies and develop translocation techniques on Epping Forest NP.

12.11 Produce a GIS map of Epping Forest NP. The GIS coverage will include vegetation and soil boundary maps, and all firebreaks, roads, and wombat burrows on Epping Forest NP. It will be linked to databases which contain information on burrow activity, burrow occupancy, vegetation patterns, and fire history.

12.12 Captive management. Develop captive management and breeding techniques.

13 Management actions required:

None, all necessary actions are under way.

14 Organisation(s) responsible for conservation of species:

Qld Department of Environment.

15 Other organisations or individuals involved:

Australian Nature Conservation Agency, Universities of Queensland, New South Wales and New England, James Cook University, Monash University, Qld Department of Primary Industries, Blair Athol Coal and neighbours of Epping Forest NP.

16 Staff and financial resources required for recovery to be carried out:

Staff resources required - 1 full-time Research Officer
1 full-time Research Technician

Financial resources required 1993-1997 -

Action QDE/others ESP Total Cost
Recovery Manager $221 500 $110 000 $331 500
Population ecology $65 100 $105 600 $170 700
Feeding ecology $83 600 $19 800 $103 400
Field energetics $10 600 $5 800 $16 400
Conservation genetics $55 200 $0 $55 200
Reproductive ecology $0 $44 900 $44 900
Monitoring $0 $2 000 $2 000
Habitat management $39 800 $86 300 $126 100
Supplementary feeding $0 $13 000 $13 000
Translocation $0 $70 000 $70 000
GIS mapping $5 200 $6 700 $11 900
Captive management $0 $3 200 $3 200

Total $481 000 $467 300

Total 1993-1997 $948 300


Horsup A. and Davidson C. 1994. Recovery Plan for the Northern Hairy-nosed Wombat (Lasiorhinus krefftii). Report to the Biodiversity Group, Environment Australia Endangered Species Program, Project 191. Department of Environment and Heritage, Rockhampton (unpublished).

Recovery Outline

Gilbert's Potoroo

1 Family: Potoroidae

2 Scientific name: Potorous gilbertii (Gould, 1841)

3 Common name: Gilbert's Potoroo

4 Conservation status: Critically Endangered: C2b,D

5 Intra-specific taxa:

Originally described as a full species by Gould; however, most recent treatments have considered it to be conspecific with or a subspecies of Potorous tridactylus. Taxonomic research currently under way at the Zoology Department, The University of Western Australia, is aimed at clarifying the status of the population. Results indicate that it is a separate species (E. Sinclair and M. Westerman in prep.). Examination of the type specimens of P. gilbertii and P. tridactylus and of other material supports this conclusion (J. Courtenay pers. comm.).

6 Former distribution:

Coastal south-west WA east to Mt Gardner. Taken by three collectors between 1840 and 1879 in the vicinity of King George's Sound (Albany) but exact locations are not known. Skeletal material is common in cave deposits between Cape Leeuwin and Cape Naturaliste. Sub-fossil skeletal specimens have been located in coastal sand dunes between these localities.

7 Current distribution:

Mt Gardner in Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve Only known from Mt Gardner in Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve (Class A Reserve vested in the National Parks and Nature Conservation Authority and managed on its behalf by the Department of Conservation and Land Management).

8 Habitat:

On Mt Gardner so far known from low, dense heath often with Melaleuca striata as a common or co-dominant component. Uses Gastrolobium spp. thickets and sometimes shelters under deep accumulations of "needles" in Allocasuarina fraseriana clumps. Apparently avoids areas where dieback disease caused by the root pathogen Phytophthora cinnamomi has modified the structure and floristic assemblage of heathlands.

Gilbert (in notes to Gould who used them in his book The Mammals of Australia of 1863) stated that it occupied dense vegetation in swampy areas and beside streams.

9 Reasons for decline:

Unknown. Predation by foxes has probably been significant. Changed fire regimes may have altered habitat and/or exacerbated fox and cat predation by destroying dense cover. Gilbert's notes record it as "the constant companion" of Quokkas, Setonix brachyurus. Unlike Gilbert's Potoroo, the Quokka, although declining, persists over much of its pre-settlement range. The difference has not been explained.

Dieback disease caused by Phytophthora spp. may threaten persisting populations by eliminating plant symbionts of hypogeal, mycorrhizal fungi which are probably the principal food of Gilbert's Potoroos. Altering vegetation structure and eliminating plants that provide food directly may be significant.

10 Additional studies required for recovery objectives and actions to be defined:

10.1 Define the population at Two Peoples Bay.

10.2 Determine home range areas and use of habitat.

10.3 Locate other populations.

10.4 Determine the diet and biology of food items.

10.5 Assess the impact of dieback disease on habitat and food.

10.6 Determine its social and reproductive strategies.

11 Recovery objectives:

Recovery of Gilbert's Potoroo by (in order of achievement):

11.1 Establishing at least one more population (in captivity).

11.2 Adequate control of threatening processes at Two Peoples Bay and other sites where it may persist.

11.3 Re-introduction to former habitat.

11.4 Change conservation status to Lower Risk (conservation dependent) and Australian legislative equivalents.

12 Management Actions completed or under way:

12.1 Interim Recovery Plan (IRP) has been approved by CALM's Director of Nature Conservation.

12.2 Recovery Team has been formed.

12.3 A consultant biologist is resident at Two Peoples Bay to implement the IRP.

12.4 Foxes are being controlled with 1080 baits at Two Peoples Bay.

12.5 Cages have been built and a captive breeding colony has been started at Two Peoples Bay.

12.6 Tracking radio-collared animals is yielding information on home-range areas and habitat preferences on Mt Gardner.

12.7 Detailed mapping of dieback disease on Mt Gardner has begun.

13 Management actions required:

13.1 Improve knowledge of its distribution at Two Peoples Bay and locate other populations (if any exist).

13.2 Determine its habitat requirements.

13.3 Control feral predators threatening its survival.

13.4 Determine the threat posed by dieback disease, research and implement control measures.

13.5 Manage the captive breeding colony.

13.6 Determine the genetic status of the captive colony founders and other populations, if any exist (for management) and the genetic distance from other races (taxonomy).

13.7 Prepare and implement a Recovery Plan replacing the IRP.

14 Organisation(s) responsible for conservation of species:

WA Department of Conservation and Land Management.

15 Other organisations or individuals involved:

Australian Nature Conservation Agency, Agriculture WA, The University of Western Australia, Edith Cowan University.

16 Staff and financial resources required for recovery to be carried out:

Staff resources required - WA CALM full-time consultant biologist
support from Science and Information Division
support from Albany District staff

Financial resources required to implement IRP - 1995-1998 - (to be shared between CALM and ESP)

Action Total Cost
Survey $10 000
Habitat requirements $9 500
Predator control $10 000
Impact of dieback $18 000
Captive colony $25 000
Genetics $9 000
Consultant biologist $186 050
Recovery Team $4 000

Total 1995-1998 $271 550


Gould J. 1863. The Mammals of Australia. The author, London.

Kabay E.D. and Start A.N. 1976. Results of the search for the potoroo in Western Australia. Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Perth (unpublished).

Start A.N. and Burbidge A.A. 1995. Interim Recovery Plan for Gilbert's Potoroo (Potorous tridactylus gilbertii). Department of Conservation and Land Management, Perth (unpublished).

Start A.N., Burbidge A.A., Sinclair E. and Wayne A. 1995. Lost and found: Gilbert's Potoroo. Landscope 10(3), 28-33.

Recovery Outline


1 Family: Macropodidae

2 Scientific Name: Lagorchestes hirsutus unnamed subsp.

3 Common Name: Mala, Rufous Hare-wallaby (central mainland)

4 Conservation status: Critically Endangered: A1a,B1+3a,b,c,d,C2b,D

5 Other subspecies:

The mainland form of L. hirsutus was described from the York district of WA. Two distinct island subspecies are also recognised: L. h. bernieri from Bernier Island and L. h. dorreae from Dorre Island. Recent investigations (Courtenay 1993) support the validity of the island subspecies and provide evidence that L. hirsutus in central Australia is a separate subspecies from L. h. hirsutus. The two island subspecies are Vulnerable, while the nominate subspecies is Extinct.

6 Former distribution:

The Mala was found throughout spinifex deserts of central Northern Territory and Western Australia and north-western parts of South Australia.

7 Current distribution:

This subspecies remains only in captive colonies and as experimental reintroduction programs This subspecies remains only in captive colonies and as experimental reintroduction programs.

8 Habitat:

Mainly in spinifex (Triodia pungens) hummock grasslands of the central deserts (NT, WA and SA). Tanami Desert colonies formerly associated with saline palaeo-drainage system, sand dunes and tight fire patterns. Large areas of spinifex desert appear suitable providing exotic predators and rabbits are at low densities or controlled and fire is properly managed.

9 Reasons for decline:

Habitat alteration due to rabbits, grazing and frequent and extensive wildfire have impacted on the Mala. Predation by cats and foxes has acted to drive remnant populations to extinction. Causal factors may vary in significance regionally across former range.

10 Additional studies required for recovery objectives and actions to be defined:

None, Recovery Plan has been drafted covering all intra-specific taxa (Lundie-Jenkins 1995).

11 Recovery objectives:

Reintroduce Mala into secure habitats. Develop effective management and translocation prescriptions for the species.

11.1 Establish two self-sustaining populations.

11.2 Develop clear management prescriptions for Mala populations.

11.3 Negotiate conservation areas in the Tanami Desert.

11.4 Ensure principles of conservation genetics are applied to captive breeding and translocations.

12 Management actions completed or under way:

12.1 Monitoring of reintroduced Mala populations and habitat.

12.2 Management of habitats in and adjacent to Mala populations.

12.3 Clarification of population genetics of the recognised subspecies of L. hirsutus.

12.4 Captive breeding to provide animals for translocations.

13 Management actions required:

13.1 Translocate Mala to offshore island.

13.2 Translocate Mala to secure mainland habitats.

14 Organisation(s) responsible for conservation of species:

Parks and Wildlife Commission of the Northern Territory, WA Department of Conservation and Land Management, SA Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

15 Other organisations or individuals involved:

CSIRO Division of Wildlife and Ecology, Western Plains Zoo, World Wide Fund for Nature.

16 Staff and financial resources required for recovery to be carried out:

Staff resources required - PWCNT 1.0 Research Scientist
1.0 Technical Officer
0.5 Animal Keeper
CALM 0.25 Research Scientist
0.25 Technical Officer
WPZ 0.05 Curator
0.2 Animal Keeper

Financial resources required - 1992-2001 -

Action Agencies ESP Total Cost
Monitoring $229 000 $372 000 $601 000
Habitat management $42 000 $24 000 $66 000
Conservation genetics $8 000 $10 000 $18 000
Captive breeding $126 000 $51 000 $177 000
Island translocation $39 000 $49 000 $88 000
Mainland translocation not budgeted not budgeted not budgeted

Total $444 000 $506 000

Total 1992-2001 $950 000


Copley P.B., Tideman J. and Copley B.J. 1984. Flora and fauna. Pp. 17-38 in R.M. Patterson and E.L. Price From stumps to stubble: a history of the District of Bute. District Council of Bute, Bute.

Courtenay J. 1993. The systematics of the hare-wallabies Lagorchestes Gould, 1841 and Lagostrophus Thomas, 1887. PhD Thesis, Australian National University, Canberra (unpublished).

Delroy L. 1974. Flinders Island Wallaby. South Australian Naturalist 49, 15.

Lundie-Jenkins G. 1993. Ecology of the Rufous Hare-wallaby, Lagorchestes hirsutus Gould (Marsupalia: Macropodidae) in the Tanami Desert, NT. I Patterns of habitat use. Wildlife Research 20, 457-476.

Lundie-Jenkins G. 1995. Recovery Plan for the Mala, Lagorchestes hirsutus. Australian Nature Conservation Agency, Canberra (unpublished).

Lundie-Jenkins G., Corbett L.K. and Phillips C.M. 1993. Ecology of the Rufous Hare-wallaby, Lagorchestes hirsutus Gould (Marsupalia: Macropodidae) in the Tanami Desert, NT. III Interactions with introduced mammal species. Wildlife Research 20, 495-511.

Lundie-Jenkins G., Phillips C.M. and Jarman P.J. 1993. Ecology of the Rufous Hare-wallaby, Lagorchestes hirsutus Gould (Marsupalia: Macropodidae) in the Tanami Desert, NT. II Diet and feeding strategy. Wildlife Research 20, 477-494.

Short J. and Turner B. 1992. The distribution and abundance of the Banded and Rufous Hare-wallabies. Biological Conservation 60, 157-166.