Action Plan for Australian Marsupials and Monotremes

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Wildlife Australia, December 1996
ISBN 0 6422 1395 X

Recovery Outline - Itjaritjari

Recovery Outline

Itjaritjari

1 Family: Notoryctidae

2 Scientific name: Notoryctes typhlops (Stirling, 1889)

3 Common name: Itjaritjari, Southern Marsupial Mole

4 Conservation status: Endangered: A1c,2c

5 Intra-specific taxa:

There is evidence of two allopatric subspecies (K. Aplin, WA Museum, unpublished data), N. typhlops typhlops from central Australia and an unnamed taxon from southern South Australia.

6 Former distribution:

Central deserts of the NT, WA and SA. Aboriginal people interviewed by Burbidge et al. (1988) knew moles to be present during living memory, or still present at about 14 sites within this range.

7 Current distribution:

Central desert range

Johnson and Walton (1989) stated that, in central Australia, it still survives across a reasonable portion of its original range. Moles were known to still be present at most of the sites identified within the central desert 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. The southern form has been collected only three times over the last 50 years, most recently in 1971 and 1996, despite an enormous increase in the number of people visiting its range in four-wheel drive vehicles. The 1996 specimen was picked up dead on the surface near Queen Victoria Spring. There have also been some reliable sight records of tracks in north-west SA. The current distribution map 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:

See N. caurinus.

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 to assess local abundance and factors affecting the species' security.

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.

10.7 Resolve the specific and subspecific forms of this species.

11 Recovery objectives:

For all 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, Parks and Wildlife Commission of the Northern Territory, SA Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

15 Other organisations or individuals involved:

WA Museum, Penny van Oosterzee.

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

See Recovery Outline for Notoryctes caurinus.

Notes: See under N. caurinus regarding allocation of status.

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.

Johnson K.A. and Walton D.W. 1989. Notoryctidae. Pp. 591-602 in D.W. Walton and B.J. Richardson (Eds). Fauna of Australia: Volume 1B Mammalia. Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra.

Recovery Outline

Northern Bettong

1 Family: Potoroidae

2 Scientific name: Bettongia tropica Wakefield, 1967

3 Common name: Northern Bettong

4 Conservation status: Endangered: B1+2c

5 Intra-specific taxa:

None.

6 Former distribution:

Disappeared from the vicinity of Ravenshoe, possibly during the 1920s (although there was recently an unconfirmed sighting in this area). A single specimen was collected from the Dawson Valley in central coastal Queensland in 1884 (Wakefield 1967), but this population is almost certainly extinct.

7 Current distribution:

The western side of the Lamb Range between Tinaroo and Mareeba

Known from three localities: (1) The western side of the Lamb Range between Tinaroo and Mareeba, in an area about 15 km x 2-3 km in extent. Recent records exist for (2) Mt Windsor and (3) Carbine Tableland, both are about 60 km north of the Lamb Range population. The species appears rare at the latter two sites, and a recent resurvey of the Mt Windsor site failed to detect any animals.

8 Habitat:

Predominantly open woodland with a grassy understorey, on granite-derived soils, some of which are of low fertility, and close to the western edge of wet tropical rainforest. Occasional reports suggest the species may sometimes use wetter sclerophyll forest types and rainforest.

9 Reasons for decline:

Unknown, but probably intensification of land use, possibly changed fire regimes.

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

None, an Interim Recovery Plan has been prepared and is being implemented (Felderhof 1995).

11 Recovery objectives:

Downlisting from Endangered to Vulnerable by:

11.1 Ensuring the Lamb Range population remains stable.

11.2 Increasing population density via habitat management of the Mt Windsor and Carbine Tableland populations.

11.3 Re-establishing extinct populations by translocation, and establishing populations at other sites within the species' geographic range that are judged from habitat models to be suitable (Carpenter et al. 1993).

12 Management actions completed or under way:

12.1 Establishment of a captive breeding population: a total of 3 males and 6 females, all wild-caught, are being held by QDE in Townsville. All have been in captivity for less than a year and as yet no females have raised young to independence, but breeding should quickly become established once the animals adjust to captivity. The captive colony will provide insurance against declines in the wild, a source of animals for translocation, and an opportunity to study breeding and life history and refine methods of age determination.

There is a captive colony of B. tropica at the Evolutionary Biology Unit of the SA Museum. The colony is breeding successfully and currently comprises two adult males, nine adult females, a number of juveniles and several pouch young.

12.2 Research is being conducted into distribution, ecology and genetics. The information gained will be used to manage habitat and plan reintroductions. The following projects are in progress:

Distribution and habitat preference: sites which appear suitable for B. tropica, based on bioclimatic modelling and habitat criteria, are being surveyed in the hope of locating other populations. Systematic surveys of terrestrial mammals throughout the range of B. tropica, in all habitat types, are being conducted to better define the factors limiting its distribution.

Fire, habitat utilisation and resource ecology: studies of the Lamb Range population are quantifying the feeding ecology, movements and response to fire of B. tropica. This area is frequently burnt at present. The responses of B. tropica and its food resources to fire are being studied directly to provide recommendations on appropriate fire regimes.

Genetic differences within and between population are being studied to determine the species mating system and dispersal patterns, to measure the extent of genetic sub-division of the Lamb Range population, and to infer the history of separation and extent of divergence of the three known contemporary populations. This work will guide reintroduction programs and assist with the setting of priorities for conservation of the Windsor and Carbine populations.

12.3 Monitor presence/absence of foxes in the range of B. tropica.

13 Management actions required:

Ensure that the population along the Lamb Range is not fragmented or threatened by rural-urban development (and associated predation from domestic dogs and cats) around its boundaries. Much of the area is expected to become National Park in the near future, and in the absence of regular burning by grazing leaseholders and Queensland Forest Service Staff, appropriate habitat management plans must be implemented. These, and plans for reintroduction elsewhere, are dependent on research now under way. Establish monitoring sites.

14 Organisation(s) responsible for conservation of species:

Qld Department of Environment.

15 Other organisations or individuals involved:

Qld Forest Service, James Cook University (ecological research), University of Queensland (genetic research), CSIRO Wildlife and Ecology, Atherton (distribution research).

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

Staff resources required -

Financial resources required 1996-2000 -

Action agency ESP Total Cost
Ecological research $0 $34 300 $34 300
Captive colony $6 000 $15 300 $21 300
Fox survey $0 $10 000 $10 000
Genetic study $18 000 $0 $18 000

Total $24 000 $59 600

Total 1996-2000 $83 600

References:

Carpenter G., Gillison A.N. and Winter J. 1993. DOMAIN: a flexible modelling procedure for mapping potential distributions of plants and animals. Biodiversity and Conservation 2, 667-680.

Felderhof L. 1995. Interim Recovery Plan for the Northern Bettong (Bettongia tropica). Unpublished. (Revision of draft Research Plan by Colleen Davidson.). Australian Nature Conservation Agency, Canberra.

Wakefield N.A. 1967. Some taxonomic revision in the Australian marsupial genus Bettongia (Macropodidae), with description of a new species. Victorian Naturalist 84, 8-22.

Recovery Outline

Long-footed Potoroo

1 Family: Potoroidae

2 Scientific name: Potorous longipes Seebeck and Johnston, 1980

3 Common name: Long-footed Potoroo

4 Conservation status: Endangered: B1+2c,C2a

5 Intra-specific taxa:

None described.

6 Former distribution:

This species was discovered less than 30 years ago. Its historical distribution is not known.

7 Current distribution:

East Gippsland and one in the Great Dividing Range in north-east Victoria

Known from three disjunct, fragmented populations, one in NSW, one in East Gippsland and one in the Great Dividing Range in north-east Victoria. Recorded from 23 sites within Bondi, Yambulla and Nungatta State Forests in south-eastern NSW where it has never been trapped but is known from hair tube and predator scat samples. Recorded from 44 sites in East Gippsland: most lie between the Snowy River and Cann River in near-coastal East Gippsland and the adjacent uplands of the Snowy River (Vic.). Recently (1995) discovered in north-eastern Vic., in the region between Mt Feathertop and Mt Buller

8 Habitat:

A variety of forest types ranging from montane wet sclerophyll forests at over 1000 m altitude to lowland sclerophyll forest at 150 m altitude. Appears confined to sites with high soil moisture content throughout the year. Generally found in warm temperate rainforest, associated mesic eucalypt forest and damp and wet sclerophyll forests. In north eastern Vic. found in damp and wet forests associated with more open eucalypt forests.

The primary requirements of Long-footed Potoroos are a diverse and abundant supply of hypogeal fungal sporocarps throughout the year and dense cover to provide shelter and protection from predators (Saxon et al. 1994).

9 Reasons for decline:

The species is cryptic and appears to be sparsely distributed, thus information on its ecology has been difficult to obtain. It has a very restricted distribution, with the majority of its known range being within State Forest. In north eastern Vic. about half of its range is in national park. Much of this area is available for timber harvesting and is potentially subject to fuel-reduction burning (Saxon et al. 1994).

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

10.1 Study population ecology, including demography, home range, dispersal, breeding success and diet.

10.2 Investigate the effect of predation on Long-footed Potoroo populations, including the age classes most affected, and the best method of controlling predators if their influence is significant.

10.3 Define critical habitat which can be incorporated into refined models for more accurate prediction of the distribution of Long-footed Potoroos.

A number of problems need to be resolved before these research actions can proceed: improved long-term and long-range tracking techniques for adults and dispersing animals are being developed; and a meaningful set of parameters for description of habitat should be defined.

11 Recovery objectives:

11.1 Protect known populations of the Long-footed Potoroo within secure areas of suitable habitat whilst research on the ecology and conservation of the species is performed.

11.2 Determine the threatening processes which are operating on the species.

11.3 Manage threatening processes so as to allow the species to maintain a secure and viable population.

12 Management actions completed or under way:

12.1 In 1989 a Potoroo Management Zone was defined over most of the range of the species within Victoria. The interim management strategy included 2.5 km radius Special Management Areas around each confirmed location of the species.

12.2 A comprehensive Management Strategy for the East Gippsland population in Victoria has been prepared and is being implemented (Saxon et al. 1994).

12.3 An interim strategy for the NE Vic. population has been developed, involving a one year moratorium on logging within the area where the species occurs. Some of this is State forest, some is national park.

12.4 Foxes and wild dogs are being controlled, using buried 1080 baits, at two population sites (Bondi, Bellbird).

12.5 Healesville Sanctuary maintains a small captive population of Long-footed Potoroos. Research on behaviour, reproduction and disease is ongoing.

12.6 Studies on hypogeal fungi are underway.

12.7 In 1991, a moratorium on logging was established in predicted habitat within south east NSW. Intensive surveys were conducted from 1991-1996 (Broome et al. 1996a).

13 Management actions required:

13.1 The Vic. Management Strategy will be revised in five years or sooner if new information dictates. Special Management Areas (SMAs) are designed to include the best Long-footed Potoroo habitat in the area and contain a Core Zone of 150 to 200 ha (average size of SMAs is ~450 ha). Larger populations will receive the highest level of protection. SMAs will be excluded from logging, new roading and new recreation facilities, and most fuel-reduction burning. Control of predators will be undertaken in selected SMAs.

13.2 Develop management strategy for north-eastern Vic. population.

13.3 Complete genetic investigations, to determine degree of genetic difference between and within populations.

13.4 Use the captive population to test techniques for intensive ecological research on wild populations, and for public education.

13.5 Complete implementation of the Vic. Research Plan (Thomas 1991).

13.6 Complete and implement Recovery Plan for NSW populations including continuation of predator control within currently known distribution (Broome et al. 1996b).

14 Organisation(s) responsible for conservation of species:

Vic. Department of Natural Resources and Environment, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service.

15 Other organisations or individuals involved:

Australian Nature Conservation Agency, Healesville Sanctuary, La Trobe University, University of New South Wales, Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies (ANU), CSIRO Wildlife and Ecology

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

Staff resources required -

Financial resources required -1997-2001

Action agency ESP/DEST ZPGB other Total cost
North-east Vic. survey and research $95 100 $90 000 1 *$55 800 $240 900
Captive colony - Healesville $67 000 $67 000
Predator control, NSW $50 000 $100 000 $50 000 $200 000

Total $145 100 $190 000 $67 000 $105 800

* National Estate Grant

Total $507 900

References:

Broome L.S., Blackley S. and Tennant P. 1996a. Long-footed Potoroo Potorous longipes Research Plan in south-eastern New South Wales. New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service report to the Australian Nature Conservation Agency, May 1996 (unpublished).

Broome L.S., Blackley S and Tennant P. 1996b. Feral canid control within the known distribution of the Long-footed Potoroo Potorous longipes in New South Wales. New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service report to the Australian Nature Conservation Agency, June 1996 (unpublished).

Claridge A.W. and Saxon A.W. 1995. A proposed interim management strategy for conservation of the Long-footed Potoroo (Potorous longipes) in New South Wales. Draft report to the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, May 1995 (unpublished).

Saxon M.J., Henry S.R. and Seebeck J.H. 1994. Management strategy for the conservation of the Long-footed Potoroo (Potorous longipes) in Victoria. Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research Technical Report Series 127. Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Melbourne.

Thomas V.C. 1991. Recovery Plan Research Phase for the Long-footed Potoroo Potorous longipes (Seebeck and Johnston 1980). Department of Conservation and Natural Resources report to the Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service (unpublished).

Recovery Outline

Bridled Nailtail Wallaby

1 Family: Macropodidae

2 Scientific Name: Onychogalea fraenata (Gould, 1840)

3 Common Name: Bridled Nailtail Wallaby

4 Conservation status: Endangered: A1a,B1+2,C1,2b

5 Intra-specific taxa:

None described.

6 Former distribution:

At the time of European settlement, Bridled Nailtail Wallabies were apparently common in eastern Australia to the west of the Great Dividing Range. Reports by naturalists Gilbert (reported in Gould 1973), Gould (1973), and Collet (1887, describing Lumholtz's collection; after Gordon and Lawrie 1980) indicate that in the mid-1800s the species ranged from the Murray River region of north-western Vic. (possibly into eastern SA) through central NSW, and north to Charters Towers in Qld (Evans and Gordon 1995).

The species' range declined dramatically during the last one hundred years with no confirmed sightings reported during the period 1937-1973. However, reference to the wallaby occurring 50 km outside Tambo (central Qld) was made by J.K. Wilson in a letter to David Fleay in 1963 (after Lavery and Tierney 1985).

7 Current distribution:

Taunton NP

The only known significant population of the species occurs on Taunton NP (Scientific) (14911'E, 2334'S) located near Dingo in central Queensland with a few sightings of wallabies on properties within 20 km of the park.

 

8 Habitat:

The Bridled Nailtail Wallaby previously occupied Acacia shrubland and grassy woodland in the semi-arid regions of eastern Australia. Gould (1973) reported that "It inhabits all the low mountain ranges, the elevation of which varies from one to six hundred feet, and which are of a sterile character - hot, dry, stony, and thickly covered with shrub-like stunted trees". Other historical comments (Krefft 1866, Collet 1887) on the species' habitat preference associate the species with unspecified scrub types (after Gordon and Lawrie 1980).

Based on surveys of the Dingo region, Gordon and Lawrie (1980) concluded that the species had a preference for Brigalow areas and the larger alluvial flats, the more fertile areas of the region. Investigation of the habitat use of the wallaby at two sites on Taunton based on a radio-tracking study revealed that the species' core nocturnal feeding range centred on the ecotone between pasture and young Brigalow regrowth (Evans 1992). However, during periods of drought, wallabies are forced to forage much further into open pasture (D. Fisher, pers. comm.).

9 Reasons for decline:

Competition with domestic herbivores, notably sheep, habitat alteration, and predation by introduced predators, especially foxes, have all been suggested as reasons for the species' decline. However, the speed and scale of the decline makes it impossible to identify any one predominant causal factor. Gordon and Lawrie (1980) built a strong case for the introduction of domestic grazing, especially that by sheep, as being the major cause in the decline of the species. This hypothesis is also supported when one compares the favoured diet of the two species. Sheep favour grassy areas, grazing predominantly on forbs (Groves 1989) similar to Bridled Nailtail Wallaby (Dawson et al. 1992).

The clearing of native vegetation as land was developed for agriculture and stock pasture probably also played a role. There has been an apparent decline in the numbers of wallabies adjacent to Taunton during the late 1970s and early 1980s concurrent with the continued clearing of Brigalow in the area (Lavery and Tierney 1985). The role played by foxes and cats can only be speculated on. Foxes have been demonstrated to reduce numbers of the similar sized macropod, Petrogale lateralis (Kinnear et al. 1988) and predation of the species by feral cats has been recorded (Horsup and Evans 1993).

There is likely to be a strong interactive effect of grazing and drought-induced reduction in ground cover and predation by introduced and native predators. It has been estimated that cats can kill up to 80% of juveniles when ground cover is sparse (D. Fisher, pers. comm.). It is possible also that competition with rabbits was a factor in the decline of the species in the southern part of its range. The species was also killed in large numbers by pastoralists in the early 1900s (Longman 1930).

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

Research targeted at obtaining a better understanding of Bridled Nailtail Wallaby ecology, the ecosystem the species exists in and appropriate management for the species' benefit. This needs to be carried out in conjunction with management actions outlined below.

11 Recovery objectives:

A Recovery Plan for the species has been prepared and is currently being implemented (Clancy 1994). Preventing extinction of the species hinges primarily on protection of the Taunton population through reduction in predation pressure and fire risk, drought feeding, management-targeted research and other actions. In addition, the maintenance of captive colonies are viewed as a necessary precaution against the advent of an uncontrollable catastrophe.

Given this framework as a starting point the recovery of the species revolves around four concurrent strategies:

11.1 Optimisation of the Taunton population by manipulation of areas of disturbed vegetation to provide the maximum habitat possible.

11.2 Identification and protection (by conservation agreement or other means) of other extant populations of Bridled Nailtail Wallaby.

11.3 Community nature conservation initiatives in the areas surrounding extant populations to boost the available habitat and the capacity for the expansion of such populations.

11.4 Translocation of Bridled Nailtail Wallabies to other areas within the species' likely historic range (the Brigalow Belt and Mulga Lands Biogeographic Zones) featuring suitable habitat to establish additional populations.

12 Management actions completed or under way:

12.1 Maintenance of Recovery Team.

12.2 Management of Taunton National Park for Bridled Nailtail Wallaby.

12.3 Translocation of Bridled Nailtail Wallaby to areas of suitable habitat.

12.4 Further surveys of Central Queensland to identify the existence of other extant colonies.

12.5 Development of Conservation Agreements, interpretation and public education programs.

12.6 Maintenance of captive population/s.

12.7 Investigation of population ecology, reproduction and development and genetics.

12.8 Recovery Plan support.

13 Management actions required:

All of the above actions are in various stages of being implemented; however, community nature conservation initiatives in the areas surrounding Taunton have not yet been given sufficient attention.

The Bridled Nailtail Wallaby is one of Australia's most threatened vertebrates and the recovery process is necessarily a long one. Public knowledge regarding the plight of the species and the suspected reasons for its decline needs to be increased to develop and ensure community commitment to the species' recovery.

14 Organisation(s) responsible for conservation of species:

Qld Department of Environment.

15 Other organisations or individuals involved:

University of Queensland, Western Plains Zoo, Australian Nature Conservation Agency.

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

Financial resources required - 1995-1999 (actions 2-8 only costed for 1995-1997) -

Action agency ESP Total Cost
Recovery Team $10 000 $5 000 $15 000
Management of Taunton NP $203 000 $48 000 $251 000
Translocation $20 000 *$140 000 $160 000
Surveys $16 000 $20 000 $36 000
Community programs $396 000 $0 $396 000
Captive colonies $92 000 $0 $92 000
Research $482 000 $0 $482 000
Recovery Plan support $74 000 $178 000 $252 000

Total $1 293 000 $391 000

* includes potential FPP component

Total $1 684 000

References:

Clancy T.F. 1994. Bridled Nailtail Wallaby (Onychogalea fraenata) Recovery Plan. QDEH Conservation Strategy Branch report to Biodiversity Group, Environment Australia (unpublished).

Dawson T.J., Tierney P.J. and Ellis B.A. 1992. The diet of the Bridled Nailtail Wallaby (Onychogalea fraenata). I. Overlap in dietary niche breadth and plant preferences with the black-striped wallaby (Macropus dorsalis) and domestic cattle. Wildlife Research 19, 79-87.

Evans M. 1992. The Bridled Nailtail Wallaby: ecology and management. QDEH report to Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service (unpublished).

Evans M. and Gordon G. 1995. Bridled Nailtail Wallaby. Pp. 356-358 in R. Strahan (Ed.) The Mammals of Australia. Reed Books, Chatswood, NSW.

Gordon G. and Lawrie B.C. 1980. The rediscovery of the Bridled Nailtail Wallaby (Onychogalea fraenata (Gould) (Marsupalia: Macropodidae) in Queensland. Australian Wildlife Research 7, 339-345.

Gould S. 1973. Kangaroos. MacMillan, Melbourne.

Groves C.P. 1989. Bovidae. Pp. 1061-1066 in D.W. Walton and B.J. Richardson (Eds) Fauna of Australia Volume 1B: Mammalia. Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra.

Horsup A. and Evans M. 1993. Predation by feral cats, Felis catus, on an endangered marsupial, the Bridled Nailtail Wallaby, Onychogalea fraenata. Australian Mammalogy 16(1), 85-86.

Kinnear J.E., Onus M.L. and Bromilow R.N. 1988. Fox control and rock wallaby population dynamics. Australian Wildlife Research 15, 435-450.

Lavery H.J. and Tierney P.J. 1985. Scarcity and extinction. Pp. 25-54 in H.J. Lavery (Ed.) The Kangaroo Keepers. University of Queensland Press, St Lucia.

Longman H.A. 1930. The marsupials of Queensland. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 10, 55-64.