Action Plan for Australian Marsupials and Monotremes

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Wildlife Australia, December 1996
ISBN 0 6422 1395 X

Recovery Outline - Ampurta

Recovery Outline

Ampurta

1 Family: Dasyuridae

2 Scientific name: Dasycercus hillieri (Thomas, 1905)

3 Common name: Ampurta

4 Conservation status: Endangered: B1+2d,3b,c

5 Intra-specific taxa:

None. Mulgaras were recognised by Jones (1923) as two species D. hillieri and D. cristicauda, but were later combined to one species with two subspecies. Recent work at the South Australian Museum has confirmed the original assessment of two, and possibly more, species. Taxonomic research is underway and taxonomic boundaries should be confirmed in 1996. D. cristicauda is Vulnerable.

6 Former distribution:

Uncertain due to the confusion of the two species. Believed to have been common in the eastern and southern Simpson Desert region of SA, Qld and the NT. Early specimens from the Canning Stock Route, WA, and the Musgrave Range, SA, are believed to be this species.

7 Current distribution:

Purni Bore and Horses Hill area (SA) in 1990 Recorded from Purni Bore and Horses Hill area (SA) in 1990. Found on Sandringham Station (Qld) in 1968 but has not been seen there since (Woolley 1990). Status in WA unknown.

8 Habitat:

Found in mature hummock grasslands (spinifex) and cane grass on sand dunes.

9 Reasons for decline:

Major threats are unknown but are probably related to habitat destruction by introduced herbivores such as sheep, cattle, camels and rabbits, predation by feral cats and foxes, and changing fire regimes.

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

Determine the status of the species. This should include determination of past distribution by using museum specimens and verification of current distribution through surveys.

11 Recovery objectives:

11.1 Confidently identify the distribution and habitat of D. hillieri.

11.2 Identify factors limiting distribution and abundance and implement experimental management.

11.3 Ensure the species persists in its current range and expand through translocations if necessary.

11.4 Increase community awareness of and involvement in the conservation of the species.

12 Management actions completed or under way:

Definition of genetic status, determination of the broad distribution of the species.

13 Management actions required:

13.1 Define past and present distribution.

13.2 Ecological study to identify threatening processes.

13.3 Implement adaptive management program incorporating rabbit control, fire management and reduction of camel numbers at specific localities.

13.4 Assess need for captive breeding and re-introductions.

13.5 Monitor abundance and distribution.

13.5 Increase community awareness and involvement and conduct consultations with Aboriginal traditional owners with regard to management and conservation of the species.

14 Organisation(s) responsible for conservation of species:

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

15 Other organisations or individuals involved:

Australian Nature Conservation Agency, South Australian Museum, World Wide Fund for Nature, Dr Chris Dickman (University of Sydney), University of New England.

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

Staff resources required - 1996-1999
Research Officer $180 000, 2 x Research assistants $240 000

Financial resources required - 1996-1999
Action Agencies* ESP Total Cost
Distribution study $60 000 $60 000
Ecological study $160 000 $160 000
Translocations $90 000 $90 000
Captive colony (if needed) $90 000 $90 000
Recovery Team $12 000 $12 000
Community education $20 000 $20 000

* Agencies contribution to be determined, SA committed to providing $8 000 to survey in that State.

Total $852 000

References:

Jones F. Wood 1923. The Mammals of South Australia. Part I. The Monotremes and the Carnivorous Marsupials. Government Printer, Adelaide.

Woolley P.A. 1990. Mulgaras, Dasycercus cristicauda (Marsupalia: Dasyuridae); their burrows and records of attempts to collect live animals between 1966 and 1979. Australian Mammalogy 13, 61-64.

Recovery Outline

Spotted-tailed Quoll (N Qld)

1 Family: Dasyuridae

2 Scientific name: Dasyurus maculatus gracilis (Ramsay, 1888)

3 Common name: Spotted-tailed Quoll (N Qld), Yarri

4 Conservation status: Endangered: C2a

5 Other subspecies:

North Qld populations originally considered to consist of two species, D. maculatus and D. gracilis (Ramsay 1888, Tate 1947), but now considered to consist of a single subspecies D. m. gracilis (Troughton 1941). D .m maculatus occurs in south-eastern Qld and further southwards and is Vulnerable. The taxonomic status of D. maculatus sighted in the Mackay area (central Qld coast) and hinterland is unknown.

6 Former distribution:

Formerly occurred throughout the latitudinal range of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area of north Qld.

7 Current distribution:

Atherton and Evelyn Tablelands As per former distribution but now apparently extinct from the Atherton and Evelyn Tablelands. Few sightings south of 17o45'S. This represents a decline in extent of occurrence of approximately 20%.

8 Habitat:

Optimum habitat appears to be upland (>900 m ASL) notophyll vine forest. Occurs in lower abundances in progressively more marginal habitat in progressively lower altitude notophyll and mesophyll habitats. Occasionally occurs as a transient in wet sclerophyll forest and in modified habitats, eg. pastures.

9 Reasons for decline:

Life-history strategy (short maximum longevity), ecological constraints (natural rarity), and limited available habitat renders this taxon very susceptible to factors which increase juvenile and/or adult mortality, or which otherwise decrease breeding success. Such factors may include habitat clearance, logging, introduced species including Cane Toad, and direct killing at chicken pens, at houses and on roads.

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

10.1 Model the effects of the Greenhouse scenario on the Wet Tropics Area climatic regime.

10.2 Genetic study to evaluate the extent of isolation between populations.

11 Recovery objectives:

Identify current distribution, identify limiting factors and conserve remaining populations.

12 Management actions completed or under way:

Much of the habitat of this species is secure from large scale disturbances as it lies within the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. A three-year field study of the life-history strategy, ranging behaviour, feeding ecology, distribution and abundance, and conservation status of the species in north Qld is in the report stage (Burnett, in prep.). A management profile for the species in State Forests in north Qld has been prepared (Burnett 1995) and a report on the conservation status of the species has been presented to QDE (Burnett 1993).

13 Management actions required:

13.1 Continued monitoring of quoll populations.

13.2 Additional survey work in order to locate other quoll populations and to test more rigorously for population distributional limits.

13.3 Experimental removal of Cane Toads from roads within the optimum habitat of D. m. gracilis and monitoring of effects if any on quoll populations.

13.4 Community extension work in areas where quolls have been displaced and continue to be so by high anthropogenic mortality.

14 Organisation(s) responsible for conservation of species:

Qld Department of Environment, Wet Tropics Management Authority.

15 Other organisations or individuals involved:

James Cook University of North Queensland, Qld Department of Primary Industries Forest Services, Australian National University, private landholders in relevant areas.

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

Staff resources required - QDE 0.5 extension officer
QDE/WTMA 1 research officer
1 research assistant
University postgraduate student
QDE consultant biologist

Financial resources required - 1996-2000

Action Total Cost
Greenhouse modelling $5 000
Genetic studies $20 000
Cane Toad management $40 000
Quoll monitoring $20 000
Distribution surveys $25 000
Community extension work $40 000

Total 1996-2000 $150 000

References:

Burnett S. in prep. The ecology of a suite of tropical Australia rainforest carnivores with particular reference to the Spotted-tailed Quoll, Dasyurus maculatus gracilis. Ph.D. thesis, James Cook University of North Queensland.

Burnett S. 1993. The ecology and conservation status of the Spotted-tailed Quoll, Dasyurus maculatus gracilis in north Queensland. Report to the Qld Department of Environment and Heritage (unpublished).

Burnett S. 1995. Management profile for the Spotted-tailed Quoll, Dasyurus maculatus gracilis in Queensland's State Forests. Report to the Qld Department of Primary Industries Forest Services (unpublished).

Recovery Outline

Dibbler

1 Family: Dasyuridae

2 Scientific name: Parantechinus apicalis (Gray, 1842)

3 Common name: Dibbler

4 Conservation status: Endangered: B1+2c,e

5 Intra-specific taxa:

None described.

6 Former distribution:

The subfossil record indicates a coastal distribution from the Zuytdorp Cliffs and Dirk Hartog Island in Shark Bay south to Yanchep and from Albany east to the Eyre Peninsula (SA). The most inland record (subfossil) is from Peak Charles (about 150 km north of Esperance). Historical collections have been mainly confined to WA, from the Moore River area, around Perth, King George Sound (Albany) and the Pallinup River (formerly Salt River) east of Albany. Some have also been made from an unknown location in SA.

7 Current distribution:

Boullanger and Whitlock Islands

Largely unknown, the only readily detectable populations are on Boullanger and Whitlock Islands (occasionally joined at low tide).

Animals have been caught (or carcasses collected) irregularly in Fitzgerald River National Park (the surrounding vacant Crown land may also support populations), Arpenteur Nature Reserve (Cheynes Beach) and Waychinicup National Park. Fitzgerald River NP has the most numerous captures. Animals have also been caught in Torndirrup NP and vacant Crown land near Ravensthorpe.

8 Habitat:

Unknown, but evidence from past captures indicates that sandy soils and dense, long unburnt vegetation with a substantial litter layer may be important habitat features. Presence of Proteaceous and Myrtaceous flowering shrubs may also be important.

9 Reasons for decline:

Unknown. Introduced predators (particularly the cat and fox), changes in burning regimes, clearing and plant diseases (eg. Phytophthora spp. and aerial cankers) may be implicated in the decline of the species.

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

Additional studies are required with the following objectives:

10.1 Ascertain the distribution and conservation status of the Dibbler in WA.

10.2 Use BIOCLIM and GIS to predict locations of new populations and examine other habitats.

10.3 Examine the species' population dynamics and habitat relationships (initially on the known island populations) through regular monitoring using traps and radio-tracking.

10.4 Document the species' ecology in relation to potential threats, particularly fire and plant pathogens.

10.5 Prepare a Recovery Plan and scientific publications detailing the conservation status and ecology of the species.

11 Recovery objectives:

To be determined during development of an Interim Recovery Plan in 1996.

12 Management actions completed or under way:

A three-year Research Plan (1995-1997) currently being funded by the Biodiversity Group, Environment Australia Endangered Species Program and CALM has the following actions:

12.1 Resurvey known sites at Boullanger and Whitlock Islands, Arpenteur NR and Fitzgerald River and Torndirrup NPs. Ascertain details of preferred habitat (floristics and vegetation structure). Will involve experimentation with various trap and bait types (year 1).

12.2 Initiate media coverage of studies with a view to gathering further distribution records (year 1).

12.3 Use BIOCLIM and GIS databases to predict location of other populations (year 1).

12.4 Continue regular monitoring and radio-tracking of known populations and examine reproduction, population dynamics and habitat use in relation to fire history and occurrence of plant pathogens (years 1-3).

12.5 Extensive surveying of predicted sites of occurrence with follow-up studies (as in 4 above) at positive sites (years 1-3).

12.6 Collation and analysis of data, publication of results and preparation of a Recovery Plan.

Island populations are managed by CALM and regularly monitored as part of the Research Plan. Other currently known population locations are managed by CALM but no regular monitoring involved.

13 Management actions required:

13.1 Habitat management. No planned burning of (suspected) preferred habitats until further research can identify the species' critical needs. Control/reduce all human activities on the islands. Maintain habitats free from plant diseases (eg. Phytophthora).

13.2 Feral animal control. Control of introduced predators (foxes, cats and dogs) throughout all known ranges. Remove introduced kangaroo from Boullanger Island. Undertake a long term study to determine the interaction between house mice and Dibblers on the islands (are they necessarily detrimental, since they can be a food item). Consider implications for other endemic species (eg. Sminthopsis griseoventer un-named subspecies. on Boullanger Island).

13.3 Translocation. None planned at present, but will probably be required.

13.4 Results of attempts at captive breeding have been reported by Woolley (1971, 1991). Captive breeding is planned as a joint venture between CALM and Perth Zoo..

13.5 Other population location and monitoring urgently needed. Differences between the island and mainland animals need to be determined before management objectives can be finalised. Genetic evaluation of all populations should be considered, especially with respect to any captive breeding program. Local education programs and raising public awareness required, especially in relation to island populations.

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, Chris Dickman (University of Sydney), local communities.

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

Staff resources required -

Financial resources required - research actions 1995-1997 -

Action CALM ESP Total Cost
Survey known sites $8 030 $13 125 $21 155
Media publicity $400 $1 000 $1 400
BIOCLIM and GIS predictions $400 $1 000 $1 400
Monitor known populations $42 070 $61 770 $103 840
Survey predicted sites $30 020 $43 395 $73 415

Total $80 920 $120 290

Total $201 210

Notes: Rough estimates for Recovery Plan.

Objective: To ensure that the species persists in its current range, and to increase population numbers by expansion into its former range.

Recovery Actions:

1 Island management. Consider construction of a board walk over sensitive areas to protect nesting mammals and birds and prevent erosion from vegetation destruction. Monitor blow-out on eastern side of Boullanger Island. Carry out regular patrols to ensure regulations are adhered to. < $5 000

2 Mouse removal or control on islands. ca $50 000

3 Captive breeding, including part-time keeper. < $10 000/year

4 Translocation of captive-bred animals to suitable sites in current and former range (including potential site in SA) following removal of foxes and cats (or other threat factors). $20 000/year

5 Interactive studies with other species: Rattus fuscipes, Antechinus flavipes, Mus musculus, Sminthopsis sp. Boullanger Island. Other ecological studies on fire ecology, reproduction and mortality in different habitats, vulnerability to poisoning programs, effects of dieback. Provide fire and baiting management guidelines/plans for CALM managers. > $20 000

6 Genetic study. < $15 000

7 Baiting of suitable translocation sites. < $10 000/year

8 Long-term monitoring of translocated populations. < $10 000/year

9 Continue monitoring of extant populations. $10 000/year

10 Public education to continue sighting/capture reports. Possibly zoo display. < $5 000

11 Survey of sites in former range on Eyre Peninsula (SA), perhaps in conjunction with SA Department of Environment and Natural Resources. $5 000

References:

Woolley P. 1971. Observations on the reproductive biology of the Dibbler, Antechinus apicalis (Marsupalia: Dasyuridae). Journal of the Royal Society of Western Australia 54, 99-102.

Woolley P. 1991. Reproductive behaviour of captive Boullanger Island Dibblers, Parantechinus apicalis (Marsupalia: Dasyuridae). Wildlife Research 18, 157-163.

Recovery Outline

Red-tailed Phascogale

1 Family: Dasyuridae

2 Scientific name: Phascogale calura Gould, 1884

3 Common name: Red-tailed Phascogale

4 Conservation Status: Endangered: B1+2b,d

5 Intra-specific taxa:

None.

6 Former distribution:

Until recently was widely distributed across much of arid and semi-arid Australia, as shown by owl pellet deposits. Museum specimens and Aboriginal knowledge indicate a wide if scattered distribution early this century from Western NSW, to Tennant Creek, to the Great Sandy Desert, the south-west of WA and across southern Australia.

7 Current distribution:

Kangaroo Island Currently found in remnant bushland in the WA Wheatbelt between Brookton and the Fitzgerald River NP, in areas between 350 and 600 mm annual rainfall. Isolated reserves as small as 67 ha support populations of P. calura.

8 Habitat:

In the western Wheatbelt of WA, the species has survived in Sheoak (Allocasuarina huegeliana) woodland with hollow-forming eucalypts such as Wandoo (Eucalyptus wandoo) present or nearby. Population numbers appear to be greatest in long unburnt (20 years plus) habitat (Kitchener 1981). A large proportion of nest sites are in highly flammable locations (dead she-oaks, skirts of live and stumps of dead grass trees (Xanthorrhoea spp.)). No precise habitat information is available for the arid zone or the southern and eastern semi-arid zone.

9 Reasons for decline:

Predation by cats and foxes, fragmentation and loss of habitat (in the Wheatbelt), frequent burning.

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

10.1 Determine effects of fox control on populations.

10.2 Study the effect of cat control on populations.

11 Recovery objectives:

11.1 Determine suitable management regimes.

11.2 Retain current distribution and abundance.

11.3 Increase abundance (and range) by reintroduction to suitable large conservation reserves.

12 Management actions completed or under way:

12.1 Study into effects of fox control under way (1993-1998 - funded to end of 1996, baiting commenced in late 1994).

12.2 Declaration of additional conservation reserves (Dryandra Woodland).

13 Management actions required:

13.1 Habitat management on CALM-managed land, targeting Allocasuarina heugeliana - Eucalyptus wandoo association. (a) Implementation of suitable fire regimes where appropriate (in large reserves such as Tutanning and Boyagin NRs and Dryandra Woodland). Management-scale experiments with monitoring at 5 year intervals required. (b) Fox control if positive effect of fox control is demonstrated. Fox control is already being carried out on seven reserves where P. calura is present, although long-term funding is available on only three of these.

13.2 Education program. Produce and distribute information kits for landholders with Red-tailed Phascogales on their properties emphasising the value of remnant bush, exclusion of stock, fire management, role of hollow trees, cat management, etc.

13.3 Reintroduction to suitable large reserves.

13.4 Establishment of habitat links between blocks of nature reserves in close proximity (eg. Dryandra, Dongolocking).

14 Organisation(s) responsible for conservation of species:

WA Department of Conservation and Land Management.

15 Other organisations or individuals involved:

Greening Australia.

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

Research -
Effects of fox control study (2 years) 10% technical officer $18 000
Cat control study (4 years) 50% technical officer $120 000

Management -
Fox control on three reserves *< $220 000
Education (2 years) 25% technical officer $30 000
Reintroduction (4 years) 150% technical officer $300 000
Habitat links (3 years) $30 000

* Additional $45 000 from Numbat RP for Dragon Rocks NR until 1997. If Numbat RP receives Biodiversity Group, Environment Australia funding through to 2004, amount required will be $115 000.

Total $498 000 plus up to $220 000 for fox control

References:

Kitchener D.J. 1981. Breeding, diet and habitat preference of Phascogale calura (Gould 1844) (Marsupalia: Dasyuridae) in the southern wheatbelt, Western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum 9(2), 173-186.

Recovery Outline

Kangaroo Island Dunnart

1 Family: Dasyuridae

2 Scientific name: Sminthopsis aitkeni Kitchener, Stoddart and Henry, 1984

3 Common name: Kangaroo Island Dunnart, Sooty Dunnart

4 Conservation status: Endangered: B1+2d

5 Intra-specific taxa:

None known.

6 Former distribution:

Kangaroo Island. Only known from seven specimens and three other records from 7-8 locations - all since 1969.

7 Current distribution:

The western half of Kangaroo IslandThe western half of Kangaroo Island, in remnant habitats of eucalypt woodland, primarily on sandy soils, often with a low heath understorey. Last recorded in 1990; however, there have been five subsequent sight records. Three of these involved the capture of the animal (two in nests, the third brought in by a cat). 

8 Habitat:

S. aitkeni has been recorded from near sea level to 240 m ASL in areas receiving between 480 and 750 mm annual rainfall. Two specimens have been collected from Eucalyptus baxteri/E. cosmophylla low to very low cladocalyx open woodland, one from E. rugosa low open woodland and one from E. remota low to very low woodland (Herbert in prep.). Most records are from areas with sandy soils and low heathy lower stratum vegetation. Four of the first specimens collected were caught while escaping from the bases of just-felled yaccas (Xanthorrhoea semiplana tateana).

9 Reasons for decline:

Habitat clearance for agriculture (primarily before 1983 when native vegetation clearance controls were introduced); currently 37% of Kangaroo Island remains uncleared.

Reasons for scarcity of animals within bush not known.

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

Research required involving further intensive survey and population monitoring.

11 Recovery objectives:

Recovery Plan necessary to determine recovery requirements.

12 Management actions completed or under way:

All sites where this species has been recorded (and many similar sites; total 29 sites) were surveyed in February/March 1995. No S. aitkeni were captured.

Permanent pitfall trap lines have been established at two sites where the species has been recorded and these are opened and checked occasionally by local DENR field staff.

13 Management actions required:

To be determined through implementation of Research Plan.

14 Organisation(s) responsible for conservation of species:

SA Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

15 Other organisations or individuals involved:

Nature Conservation Society of South Australia, Eco Action (Kangaroo Island conservation group).

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

Staff resources required -
Research Officer (full time for 9 months) to conduct intensive survey, establish population monitoring program and prepare draft Recovery Plan.

Financial resources required - 1997 (extra resources may be needed depending on results of survey)
Action Cost
Survey, establish monitoring, prepare Recovery Plan $40 000
Monitor and study population $10 000

Total $50 000

References:

Herbert T. in prep. Distribution, habitat preferences and status of the Kangaroo Island Dunnart (Sminthopsis aitkeni). Nature Conservation Society of South Australia, Adelaide.

Recovery Outline

Julia Creek Dunnart

1 Family: Dasyuridae

2 Scientific name: Sminthopsis douglasi Archer, 1979

3 Common name: Julia Creek Dunnart

4 Conservation status: Endangered: B1+2b,d,3d

5 Intra-specific taxa:

None.

6 Former distribution:

Known from four museum specimens, collected in about 1911 (one), the 1930s (two) 1972 (one), from the vicinity of Julia Creek and Richmond (Qld). No data on former abundance.

7 Current distribution:

Information on present range has been obtained by trapping and examination of the contents of owl pellets

Information on present range has been obtained by trapping and examination of the contents of owl pellets. Since 1992, 12 animals have been live-trapped in four locations; eight of these were from one location. Another live animal was rescued from a domestic cat at a fifth location. The skeletal remains of S. douglasi have been found in owl pellets from 23 locations, most within the area in which the live specimens were obtained.

8 Habitat:

Predominantly Mitchell Grass on cracking clay soils (the "downs country" of north-western Qld). The animals may utilise cracks in the soil for shelter, but the cracks close up during the wet season.

9 Reasons for decline:

Not known but climatic factors, introduced predators (especially cats) and current land use (sheep and cattle grazing) may be implicated.

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

10.1 Trapping to determine abundance in known localities.

10.2 Survey work (trapping and collection of owl pellets) outside known range.

10.3 Conduct research on ecology of wild populations.

10.4 Assess impact of introduced predators (cats and foxes) in areas where species is known to occur.

10.5 Conduct research on reproduction in wild populations to establish life history strategy. Because the species is currently very rare (two individuals trapped in over 30 000 trap nights in 1995) this can only be done by studying captive bred animals in field enclosures.

10.6 Investigate interactions with sympatric species of small mammals including Planigale ingrami, S. macroura, S. crassicaudata, Rattus villosissimus and Leggadina forresti.

11 Recovery objectives:

To ensure that the species survives at least within its current known range.

12 Management actions completed or under way:

At three sites where live animals have been collected since 1992, trapping to monitor population numbers has been conducted and vegetation and soil characteristics have been assessed at intervals during 1995.

13 Management actions required:

13.1 Continue monitoring known populations.

13.2 Control introduced predators (cats and foxes).

13.3 Assess other potentially threatening processes including effects of stock on soil compaction and vegetation.

13.4 Continue maintenance of captive breeding colony to ensure supply of animals should reintroduction become necessary.

14 Organisation(s) responsible for conservation of species:

Qld Department of Environment.

15 Other organisations or individuals involved:

Dr Pat Woolley (La Trobe University). 16 Staff and financial resources required for recovery to be carried out:

Staff resources required - Research assistant (field)
Technical assistant (captive breeding colony)

Financial resources required over four years 1996-2000 -

Action Total Cost
Field research and monitoring $80 000
Enclosures for field study $20 000
Monitoring animals in field enclosures $20 000
Captive breeding colony $20 000
Introduced predator control $20 000

Total 1996-2000 $440 000

References:

Archer M. 1979. Two new species of Sminthopsis Thomas (Dasyuridae: Marsupalia) from northern Australia, S. butleri and S. douglasi. Australian Zoologist 20, 327-345.

Woolley P.A. 1992. New records of the Julia Creek Dunnart, Sminthopsis douglasi (Marsupalia: Dasyuridae). Wildlife Research 19, 779-783.

Recovery Outline

Sandhill Dunnart

1 Family: Dasyuridae

2 Scientific name: Sminthopsis psammophila Spencer, 1895

3 Common name: Sandhill Dunnart

4 Conservation status: Endangered: B1+2a,b,3a,b

5 Intra-specific taxa:

None described.

6 Former distribution:

Described last century from an animal collected near Lake Amadeus (NT), then not seen again until 1969. Recorded in SA from Mamblyn and Boonerdoo on Eyre Peninsula and three localities in the Yellabinna sand dunes (within Yellabinna Regional Reserve and Maralinga Tjarutja Aboriginal Lands), and in WA in the south-western corner of the Great Victoria Desert, including Queen Victoria Spring NR.

7 Current distribution:

Presumed as above, although not recorded in the Northern Territory since 1894, or from the Eyre Peninsula since 1969 Presumed as above, although not recorded in the Northern Territory since 1894, or from the Eyre Peninsula since 1969.

8 Habitat:

Low parallel sand ridges of hummock grass, swales covered by open mallee-broombush scrub or groves of desert oak (Allocasuarina decaisneana) (Aitken 1983). Animals trapped in the late 1980s were all caught in areas with a "relatively diverse shrub layer and a species of spinifex with a cover of over 20%" (Pearson and Robinson 1990).

9 Reasons for decline:

Decline has not been substantiated. However, the Sandhill Dunnart lies within the Critical Weight Range (see 'Conservation of Marsupials and Monotremes in Australia', above) and in common with similar-sized mammals has probably declined due to predation from foxes and cats and changed fire regimes.

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

10.1 Undertake ecological study of the species in the Queen Victoria Spring NR (WA) and at the Yellabinna sites (SA).

10.2 Conduct a systematic search in the area of Hambidge CP, the nearest remaining natural vegetation to where the species was recorded in 1969.

10.3 Undertake surveys in the Northern Territory and other suitable areas of the Great Victoria Desert.

11 Recovery objectives:

11.1 To locate populations of the species across its known range and determine conservation biology.

11.2 To prepare Recovery Plan if indicated by results of further study.

12 Management actions completed or under way:

Limited survey work in parts of Great Victoria Desert.

13 Management actions required:

13.1 Survey for species in Great Victoria Desert.

13.2 Ecological study at WA and SA sites.

14 Organisation(s) responsible for conservation of species:

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

15 Other organisations or individuals involved:

Aboriginal land councils.

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

Staff resources required - WA CALM/SA DENR 1.0 Technical Officer for three years (to work in both States)

Financial resources required - 1997-2001

Action Total Cost
Survey for species in Great Victoria Desert (3 years) $195 000
Ecological study in WA and SA (3 years, overlapping survey work) $130 000

Total $325 000

References:

Pearson D.J. 1995. Sandhill Dunnart Sminthopsis psammophila. Pp. 154-155 in R. Strahan (Ed.) The Mammals of Australia. Reed Books, Chatswood, NSW.

Pearson D.J. and Robinson A.C. 1990. New records of the Sandhill Dunnart, Sminthopsis psammophila (Marsupalia: Dasyuridae) in South and Western Australia. Australian Mammalogy 13, 57-59.

Recovery Outline

Western Barred Bandicoot (Shark Bay)

1 Family: Peramelidae

2 Scientific name: Perameles bougainville bougainville
Quoy and Gaimard, 1824

3 Common name: Western Barred Bandicoot (Shark Bay)

4 Conservation status: Endangered: B1+3a

5 Other subspecies:

The Western Barred Bandicoot mainland subspecies (P. b. fasciata) is Extinct.

6 Former distribution:

This subspecies of P. bougainville has been collected live only from Peron Peninsula on the Shark Bay mainland and from Bernier and Dorre Islands. Subfossil remains have been identified from Dirk Hartog Island and other mainland sites near Shark Bay (Baynes 1990). Other described subspecies of P. bougainville were from outside that area: myosura in the south-west of WA, notina on the Nullarbor and southern SA and fasciata in NSW (Friend 1990, Kemper 1990, Menkhorst and Seebeck 1990).

7 Current distribution:

Bernier and Dorre Islands Bernier and Dorre Islands.

8 Habitat:

Semi-arid areas on the Shark Bay mainland and nearby islands. Vegetation types occupied on Bernier and Dorre Islands include Triodia grasslands and scrub communities on vegetated dunes, on sandplain, and between travertine outcrops, although on the islands the species is particularly abundant in sandhills behind beaches. Also recorded "at the foot of elevated dunes" on Peron Peninsula (Quoy and Gaimard 1824).

Habitats recorded for the other subspecies were semi-arid areas with a variety of vegetation types, including dense scrub (P. b. myosura), open bluebush and saltbush plains (P. b. notina) and stony hills (P. b. fasciata) (Friend and Burbidge 1995).

9 Reasons for decline:

Predation by cats and foxes, modification of vegetation by rabbits and stock, possibly changed fire regimes in parts of the range.

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

10.1 Study interaction with rabbits.

10.2 Develop reintroduction strategies.

10.3 Improve methods for controlling feral cats in arid and semi-arid ecosystems.

11 Recovery objectives:

11.1 Maintain existing range and abundance.

11.2 Increase number of populations to six by re-establishment in suitable areas of former occurrence.

12 Management actions completed or under way:

12.1 All habitat of existing populations is currently in nature reserves.

12.2 Feral animal control is being undertaken on Heirisson Prong and Peron Peninsula.

12.3 Interim Recovery Plan prepared as pre-cursor to translocation (Short 1995).

12.4 Experimental translocation to Heirisson Prong.

12.5 Monitoring on Dorre Island.

12.6 Fox control on other mainland sites.

13 Management actions required:

13.1 Secure Heirisson Prong as conservation estate (currently grazing lease).

13.2 Cat control on other mainland sites.

13.3 Translocation to at least three other mainland sites. Possible sites include Francois Peron NP, Kalbarri NP, Dryandra NP, Lake Magenta NR, Dragon Rocks NR and Fitzgerald River NP.

13.4 Translocation to Dirk Hartog Island should be considered if it becomes a national park and if feral cats can be controlled.

14 Organisation(s) responsible for conservation of species:

WA Department of Conservation and Land Management.

15 Other organisations or individuals involved:

CSIRO Division of Wildlife and Ecology, Useless Loop Community.

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

Financial resources required 1996-2001 -

CSIRO
Heirisson Prong:
Fox and cat control $15 000
1 technical position, logistic support $180 000
Other support $150 000

WA CALM
Peron Peninsula:
Fox and cat control already implemented
Reintroduction and monitoring $50 000
Fox control at other sites: already implemented
Cat monitoring and control at other sites: $50 000
Reintroduction to other sites and monitoring: $225 000
Monitoring of island populations $30 000

Total 1996-2000 $700 000

References:

Baynes A. 1990. Mammals of Shark Bay, Western Australia. Pp. 313-325 in P.F. Berry, S.D. Bradshaw and B.R. Wilson (Eds) Research in Shark Bay. Western Australian Museum, Perth.

Friend J.A. 1990. The distribution and status of bandicoots in Western Australia. Pp. 73-84 in J.H. Seebeck, P.R. Brown, R.L. Wallis and C.M. Kemper (Eds) Bandicoots and Bilbies. Surrey Beatty and Sons, Sydney.

Friend J.A. and Burbidge A.A. 1995. Western Barred Bandicoot Perameles bougainville. Pp. 178-180 in R. Strahan (Ed.) The Mammals of Australia. Reed Books, Chatswood, NSW.

Kemper C. 1990. Status of bandicoots in South Australia. Pp. 67-72 in J.H. Seebeck, P.R. Brown, R.L. Wallis and C.M. Kemper (Eds) Bandicoots and Bilbies. Surrey Beatty and Sons, Chipping Norton, NSW.

Menkhorst P.W. and Seebeck J.H. 1990. Distribution and conservation status of bandicoots in Victoria. Pp. 51-60 in J.H. Seebeck, P.R. Brown, R.L. Wallis and C.M. (Eds) Bandicoots and Bilbies. Surrey Beatty and Sons, Sydney.

Quoy J.R.C. and Gaimard P. 1824. Voyage autour du monde...sur les corvettes l'Uranie, et la Physicenne. Zoologie. Paris.

Short J. 1995. Interim Recovery Plan for the Western Barred Bandicoot (Perameles bougainville) (unpublished).

Recovery Outline

Kakarratul

1 Family: Notoryctidae

2 Scientific name: Notoryctes caurinus Thomas, 1920

3 Common name: Kakarratul, Northern Marsupial Mole

4 Conservation status: Endangered: A1c,2c

5 Intra-specific taxa:

None. Formerly synonymised with N. typhlops.

6 Former distribution:

Has been collected from six localities in the Gibson and Great Sandy Deserts (WA). Aboriginal people interviewed by Burbidge et al. (1988) knew moles to be present during living memory or still present at more than 40 sites within this range.

7 Current distribution:

Three recent records. Two animals found on Talawanna Track west of Cotton Creek, WA, in October 1995 (WA Museum)

Three recent records. Two animals found on Talawanna Track west of Cotton Creek, WA, in October 1995 (WA Museum). One was excavated by a bulldozer about one metre below the surface and the other was injured on the surface. The third came from near Nifty Mine in March 1996. It was found near death on the surface after heavy rain. Previously collected at Balgo in 1979. Moles were identified as still present at about half of the sites identified within the range of this species by Burbidge et al. (1988) who noted that "everyone said it was still common in suitable areas"; however much of this information probably relates to sightings from one to four decades ago. Very few recent records, despite an enormous increase in the number of people visiting its range in four-wheel drive vehicles. Map of current distribution for this species shows confirmed records (specimens, sightings) since 1970.

8 Habitat:

Lives underground in sand dunes, interdunal flats and sandy soils along river flats. Occasionally comes to the surface, apparently more frequently after rain.

9 Reasons for decline:

No decline has been documented for this extremely cryptic species. However, the lack of records in recent years gives considerable cause for concern. It is an arid zone Critical Weight Range species (Burbidge and McKenzie 1989); around 90% of such taxa have either become extinct or have declined seriously in range and/or abundance. Operating threatening processes include predation by foxes (which are capable of taking animals on or near the surface) and feral cats. Changed fire regimes in the spinifex-dominated sandy deserts may also be affecting the species.

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

The following research actions are proposed for all marsupial moles:

10.1 Undertake GIS and BIOCLIM analysis of Museum records.

10.2 Examine reproductive, dietary and other aspects of all available specimens.

10.3 Develop and implement region-wide community survey for all marsupial moles.

10.4 Undertake field survey of key localities identified from 10.1 and supplemented from 10.3.

10.5 Establish local community-based recording and reporting schemes at key localities.

10.6 Repeat 10.1 and synthesise available data into future plans for research and management.

11 Recovery objectives:

For both marsupial moles:

11.1 Improve knowledge of former and contemporary distributions, dietary and reproductive biology.

11.2 Locate extant populations and potential sites for subsequent ecological/management research.

12 Management actions completed or under way:

None.

13 Management actions required:

No management actions can be defined until additional research has been completed.

14 Organisation(s) responsible for conservation of species:

WA Department of Conservation and Land Management.

15 Other organisations or individuals involved:

WA Museum, Penny van Oosterzee.

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

Staff resources required -

Financial resources required - 1995-1997

Action agency ESP Total Cost
GIS/BIOCLIM assessment $5 000 $1 500 $6 500
Biological analysis $6 000 $2 500 $8 500
Community survey $6 000 $15 500 $21 500
Field survey $21 000 $56 000 $77 000
Establish recording/reporting $0 $20 000 $20 000
GIS/BIOCLIM reassessment $6 000 $6 000 $12 000

Total $44 000 $101 500

Total 1995-1997 $145 500

Notes: It was difficult to assign a category to Notoryctes caurinus and N. typhlops because of lack of information. IUCN (1994) states that the criteria should be applied on the basis of the available evidence ... making due allowance for statistical and other uncertainties. IUCN states "In cases where a wide variation in estimates is found, it is legitimate to apply the precautionary principle and use the estimate (providing it is credible) that leads to listing in the category of highest risk" (p. 6). IUCN also states "In cases where there are evident threats to a taxon through, for example, deterioration of its known habitat, it is important to attempt threatened listing, even though there may be little direct information on the biological status of the taxon itself (p. 7). The Guide to the new IUCN Red List Categories and criteria (IUCN November 1995) states that "inference and projection are incorporated into the new system and should be used with the best available information to assess the status of species for which there is little known" (p. 7).

There is little current information on the status of both species of marsupial moles. Some authors have interpreted the anecdotal information, mainly from Aboriginal informants (e.g. Burbidge et al. 1988), as demonstrating that they are reasonably common but infrequently observed. On the other hand, data on the rates of acquisition of specimens to Museums suggest a significant decline in abundance, especially noting the much greater levels of human activity within the species' ranges during the last two or three decades. To this concern must be added our knowledge that the vast majority of Critical Weight Range (CWR) mammals in the Australian arid zone (about 90%) have become totally or locally extinct or have declined seriously in abundance and/or range (Burbidge and McKenzie 1989). With body weights of around 40 to 70 g, Notoryctes falls squarely within the CWR. As well, information about the abundance of moles in the past exists, eg, that recorded by Daisy Bates at Ooldea. These abundances suggest population numbers orders of magnitude greater than today, evidenced by the failure of experienced mammalogists, working in many parts of the deserts over recent decades, to locate the species.

In the 1992 Action Plan the AMMSG assigned the status 'Potentially Vulnerable' to the then recognised single species of Notoryctes. In 1993 we assigned N. caurinus to 'Insufficiently known' and N. typhlops to 'Indeterminate' for the 1994 Red List. Since these assignments were made there have been no studies funded to investigate the species. Rather, funds for the conservation of threatened species have gone mainly to taxa which have been assigned to the category of Endangered.

The AMMSG has decided that the two species of Notoryctes present a special case, partly because they are the only two species in an Order of Marsupials, the Notoryctemorphia. After reviewing available information, which is scarce, and available opinions of the species' status, which are varied, we decided that a precautionary approach dictated that we assign 'Endangered' to both taxa. This is based on an inferred and suspected reduction of at least 50% over the past three generations of area of occupancy, extent of occurrence and quality of habitat. Furthermore, this reduction is likely to continue.

References:

Burbidge A.A., Johnson K.A., Fuller P.J. and Southgate R.I. 1988. Aboriginal knowledge of the mammals of the central deserts of Australia. Australian Wildlife Research 15, 9-39.

Burbidge A.A. and McKenzie N.L. 1989. Patterns in the modern decline of Western Australia's vertebrate fauna: causes and conservation implications. Biological Conservation 50, 143-198.