Action Plan for Australian Marsupials and Monotremes

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Wildlife Australia, December 1996
ISBN 0 6422 1395 X

Recovery Outline - Brush-tailed Phascogale

Taxon Summary

Brush-tailed Phascogale (S mainland)

1 Family: Dasyuridae

2 Scientific name: Phascogale tapoatafa tapoatafa (Meyer, 1793)

3 Common name: Brush-tailed Phascogale (S mainland)

4 Conservation status: Lower Risk (near threatened): a, c

5 Past range and abundance:

Formerly widespread in eastern and south-western Australia and presumed abundant in appropriate habitat of woodland and open forest. Rarer in wetter forests. The high densities recorded at Perup, WA, (e.g. 0.2 animals/ha) may provide a guide as to what densities in optimum habitat may once have been.

6 Present range and abundance:

Range reduced by about 50%

Range reduced by about 50%, predominantly due to agricultural clearing and deforestation associated with gold mining activities. Presumed extinct in SA (last reliable record 1967). Now largely confined to dry sclerophyll forest. In NSW most commonly encountered on the north coast, particularly from Taree to Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour and parts of the hunter Valley. Abundance within remaining range mostly unknown as the species eludes conventional fauna survey techniques. However, its distribution appears patchy and it seems to be absent or in very low numbers across much of its remaining habitat. Typically reported from infrequent single sightings and/or captures in most regions. Successful re-introduction trials of captive animals have been undertaken by T. Soderquist.

7 Habitat:

Dry sclerophyll forests and open woodlands that contain hollow-bearing trees. It occurs more rarely in wetter forests. Dated sub-fossil remains (210 ± 300 years BP) from Balladonia (WA) and an isolated record from Kalgoorlie (WA) implies that its previous extent of occurrence was more extensive than currently thought.

8 Current threats:

Reduction in area of occupancy predominantly caused by gross habitat alteration including continued habitat clearing and fragmentation, and habitat alteration by logging and mining. The greatest current threat is the increasing decline in the availability of hollow-bearing trees. Predation by foxes and cats. Male die-off makes this taxon particularly vulnerable to stochastic events. Reproductively viable populations are unlikely to persist in suitable habitat areas smaller than thousands of hectares.

9 Recommended actions:

9.1 Develop national management plan and establish management team to oversee its implementation. The Plan should incorporate the Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Action Statement, which should be published and implemented. It should also examine what amendments are needed to current forest management practices to enhance phascogale habitat.

9.2 Incorporate recommended management actions into Box/Ironbark woodland management plans, eg. Bendigo Forest Management Area Plan.

9.3 Determine distribution using monitoring techniques that will give an estimate of abundance, identify key habitats and specific threats in different parts of its range. Undertake radio-tracking and dietary studies in a range of habitats to better identify conservation needs.

9.4 Identify key populations to meet major conservation objective of maintaining at least 1 000 breeding females in both Vic. and WA.

9.5 Determine the potential impact of 1080 on Phascogales in south-east Australia.

9.6 Establish monitoring programs to determine effects of management actions.

Note: Taxonomic study of western and eastern populations needed.

References:

Cuttle P. 1982. Life History Strategy of the Dasyurid Marsupial Phascogale tapoatafa. Pp 13-22 in M. Archer (Ed.) Carnivorous Marsupials. Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales, Sydney.

Humphries R.K. and Seebeck J.H. 1996. Brush-tailed Phascogale. Flora and Fauna Action Statement. Department of Natural Resources and Environment, Melbourne.

Soderquist T.R. 1993a. Maternal strategies of Phascogale tapoatafa (Marsupalia: Dasyuridae). I Breeding seasonality and maternal investment. Australian Journal of Zoology 41, 549-566.

Soderquist T.R. 1993b. Maternal strategies of Phascogale tapoatafa (Marsupalia: Dasyuridae). II Juvenile thermoregulation and maternal attendance. Australian Journal of Zoology 41, 567-576.

Soderquist T.R. in press. Spatial organisation of the arboreal carnivorous marsupial Phascogale tapoatafa. Journal of Zoology.

Traill B.J. and Coates T.D. 1993. Field observations on the Brush-tailed Phascogale Phascogale tapoatafa (Marsupalia: Dasyuridae). Australian Mammalogy 16, 61-65.

Taxon Summary

Common Dunnart (N Qld)

1 Family: Dasyuridae

2 Scientific name: Sminthopsis murina tatei Troughton, 1965

3 Common name: Common Dunnart (N Qld)

4 Conservation status: Lower Risk (near threatened): b

5 Past range and abundance:

North Qld. Museum records from Mt Molloy, Blencoe Creek and Koombooloomba.

6 Present range and abundance:

Range reduced by about 50% As above.

7 Habitat:

Open forest, woodland and grasslands.

8 Current threats:

Not known.

9 Recommended actions:

9.1 Reassessment of taxonomic status.

9.2 Assessment of biology, distribution and abundance.

References:

Archer M. 1981. Revision of the dasyurid marsupial genus Sminthopsis Thomas. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 168, 99-100.


Taxon Summary

Quenda

1 Family: Peramelidae

2 Scientific name: Isoodon obesulus fusciventer (Gray, 1841)

3 Common name: Quenda, Southern Brown Bandicoot (WA)

4 Conservation status: Lower Risk (near threatened): a

5 Past range and abundance:

In the early days of European settlement the subspecies was recorded from much of the south-west of WA., west of a line from Moore River, Wyalcatchem, Hyden and Jerramungup and in a strip along the south coast to Israelite Bay. Subfossil material extends this distribution along the coast east to the Hampton Tableland and north to Jurien Bay.

6 Present range and abundance:

Currently found in coastal strip from Two Rocks (just north of Perth) to Esperance and in low numbers in areas of dense vegetation throughout the Jarrah and Karri forests Currently found in coastal strip from Two Rocks (just north of Perth) to Esperance and in low numbers in areas of dense vegetation throughout the Jarrah and Karri forests. The area of occupancy of the subspecies has declined by about 50% since European settlement.

7 Habitat:

Dense shrubland vegetation with considerable cover in the 0-1 m height interval, and adjacent forest and woodland. On the Swan coastal plain, populations are centred on wetlands, in forested areas they are associated with watercourses. In the Jarrah forest and Wandoo-dominated areas on the eastern fringe of the northern Jarrah forest, Quendas are generally restricted to dense stream-side vegetation, but in the Karri forest and southern coastal areas, they occur in dense vegetation in other parts of the landscape.

8 Current threats:

Fragmentation and loss of habitat on coastal plain and Wheatbelt, fire in fragmented habitat on the coastal plain, predation by foxes (especially in remnant habitat in the Wheatbelt), predation by cats (especially on the young) throughout the range and predation by dogs near residential areas.

9 Recommended Actions:

9.1 Carry out studies of response to fire and logging both with and without fox control (study of logging impact under fox control now under way).

9.2 Maintain range on the Swan coastal plain by management (including fire suppression and control of introduced predators) of Perth urban reserves where Quendas are present and reintroduction to suitable reserves.

9.3 Increase area under fox control on south coast of WA.

9.4 Increase number of populations in the Wheatbelt by reintroduction to several large reserves where fox control is carried out or planned (eg. Dryandra Woodland, Dragon Rocks Nature Reserve, Lake Magenta Nature Reserve).

References:

Friend J.A. 1990. Status of bandicoots in Western Australia. Pp. 73-84 in J.H. Seebeck, P.R. Brown, R.L. Wallis and C.M. Kemper Bandicoots and bilbies. Surrey Beatty and Sons, Chipping Norton, NSW.


Taxon Summary

Southern Brown Bandicoot (SE mainland)

1 Family: Peramelidae

2 Scientific name: Isoodon obesulus obesulus (Shaw, 1797)

3 Common name: Southern Brown Bandicoot (SE mainland)

4 Conservation status: Lower Risk (near threatened): a

5 Past range and abundance:

From Eyre Peninsula (but not on Yorke Peninsula) in SA, including Kangaroo Island, through southern Vic. (coastally except for south-west where it occurs inland to the Grampians Ranges) and NSW to just north of Sydney, in Ku-ring-gai Chase.

6 Present range and abundance:

Range reduced and contracted at both ends of general distribution, and now patchily distributed in most areas

Range reduced and contracted at both ends of general distribution, and now patchily distributed in most areas. Especially fragmented and reduced in mainland SA, where it is considered Vulnerable, and in NSW where now absent from central portion of its range. In Vic., recent loss from areas of intensive agricultural and urban development; less abundant in eastern Vic. than in the west. Considered to be moderately abundant on Kangaroo Island. Taxonomic status of Kangaroo Island population has not been investigated recently.

 

7 Habitat:

Heath, shrubland and heathy forest and woodland. Usually associated with well-drained soils and dry heath communities and does not inhabit wet forest. Some records from grassy riparian River Red Gum woodland in Western Vic. Depends on mosaic of post-fire vegetation, being more abundant in early stages of vegetation regeneration, associated with diversity of vegetation and resultant abundance of insect food.

8 Current threats:

Although well protected by existing system of conservation reserves in Vic., habitat management must be appropriate. Clearing, too-frequent fires and predation by introduced carnivores, especially foxes, are major issues. Many remnant populations are especially vulnerable and may also be genetically insecure in the long-term. Preferential predation upon females by foxes has been suggested; this would be a significant threat to viability of isolated populations.

9 Recommended actions:

9.1 Monitor distribution and abundance of isolated and remnant populations.

9.2 Control fox populations in areas where vulnerability is suspected.

9.3 Implement habitat protection and enhancement at selected sites in association with monitoring and fire management.

References:

Lobert B. 1990. Home range and activity period of the Southern Brown Bandicoot (Isoodon obesulus) in a Victorian heathland. Pp. 319-325 in J.H. Seebeck, P.R. Brown, R.L. Wallis and C.M. Kemper (Eds) Bandicoots and Bilbies. Surrey Beatty and Sons, Sydney.

Lobert B. and Lee A.K. 1990. Reproduction and life history of Isoodon obesulus in Victorian heathland. Pp. 311-318 in J.H. Seebeck, P.R. Brown, R.L. Wallis and C.M. Kemper (Eds) Bandicoots and Bilbies. Surrey Beatty and Sons, Sydney.

Menkhorst P.W. and Seebeck J.H. 1995. Southern Brown Bandicoot Isoodon obesulus. Pp. 70-72 in P.W. Menkhorst (Ed.). Mammals of Victoria, Oxford University Press, Melbourne.

Opie A., Gullan P. and Mansergh I. 1990. Prediction of the geographic range and habitat preferences of Isoodon obesulus and Perameles nasuta in Gippsland. Pp. 327-334 in J.H. Seebeck, P.R. Brown, R.L. Wallis and C.M. Kemper (Eds) Bandicoots and Bilbies. Surrey Beatty and Sons, Sydney.

Taxon Summary

Southern Brown Bandicoot (Cape York)

1 Family: Peramelidae

2 Scientific name: Isoodon obesulus peninsulae Thomas, 1922

3 Common name: Southern Brown Bandicoot (Cape York)

4 Conservation status: Lower Risk (near threatened): b

5 Past range and abundance:

On Cape York Peninsula (Qld), from Cape York in the north to Cape Direction in the south-east and between the Coleman and Mitchell rivers in the central part of the peninsula. Described by Thomas (1922) from a specimen collected in 1912 from Utingu, northern Cape York Peninsula, one from "Olen" (O'Lane) Creek (Lonnberg and Mjoberg 1916), seven records from the Iron Range/Cape Direction area during the 1930s by Thomson (Dixon and Huxley 1985) and four specimens collected by the Archbold Expedition in 1948 from Lockerbie, Newcastle Bay and Iron Range (Tate 1952). The numbers collected suggested the bandicoot was not rare.

6 Present range and abundance:

Post-1948 records indicate that the geographical range is stable in the north-eastern section of the peninsula

Post-1948 records indicate that the geographical range is stable in the north-eastern section of the peninsula - one from Iron Range 1962, one from Lockerbie 1973, two from Heathlands 1972/3 (McFarland 1993) and several records from the Lockerbie and Iron Range areas in the 1990s (Grant and Leung 1993, 1994; Leung et al. 1994). There are no recent records from the south-central section of the peninsula, but this could be through lack of fauna surveys in the area.

In the Lockerbie area of northern Cape York Peninsula, Grant and Leung (1993) state that "This animal is considered to be common in the Larrandeenya Creek area (seen by spotlight as well as trapped) where Aboriginal burning was still practised and tall grass was abundant." In the Iron Range to Cape Weymouth area, Leung et al. (1994) write that "This small bandicoot was found only in open habitats...many opportunistic sightings were made along the road in the survey area at night. The animal was mainly caught in Elliott traps and occasionally in cage traps; one juvenile was trapped in pit...".

These observations demonstrate that the bandicoot is currently common in its preferred habitat.

7 Habitat:

Grassy woodland and grasslands.

8 Current threats:

Insufficient is known about its ecology to know how current land management practices, particularly in relation to burning, may affect the bandicoot. Feral Cats are present throughout Cape York Peninsula and may constitute a threat to this small bandicoot.

9 Recommended actions:

9.1 Research into distribution and general ecology.

9.2 Determine taxonomic status - this population may be a form of I. auratus.

References:

Dixon J.M. and Huxley L. 1985. Donald Thomson's Mammals and Fishes of Northern Australia. Thomas Nelson, Melbourne.

Grant J.D. and Leung L. 1993. Wet season terrestrial fauna survey of the Lockerbie Scrub, Cape York Peninsula: April-May 1993. Report to the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage, Brisbane (unpublished).

Grant J.D. and Leung L. 1994. Storm season terrestrial fauna survey of the Lockerbie Scrub, Cape York Peninsula: February 1994. Report to the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage, Brisbane (unpublished).

Leung L.K.-P., Venables B. and Pritchard J. 1994. Terrestrial vertebrate fauna survey of the Iron Range area Cape York Peninsula: 1993-94. Report to the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage, Brisbane (unpublished).

Lonnberg E. and Mjoberg E. 1916. Results of Dr E. Mjoberg's Swedish Scientific Expeditions to Australia 1910-13. II Mammals from Queensland. Kungl Svenska Vetenskapsakademiens Handlingar 52, 1-20.

McFarland D. 1993. Fauna of the Cape York Peninsula biogeographic region. Report to the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage, Brisbane (unpublished).

Tate G.H.H. 1952. Results of the Archbold Expeditions. No. 66. Mammals of Cape York Peninsula, with notes on the occurrence of rainforest in Queensland. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 98, 563-616.

Thomas J. 1922. The bandicoots of Nuyts Archipelago, S. Australia and of Cape York, northern Queensland. The Annals and Magazine of Natural History (ninth series) 9, 677-679.

Taxon Summary

Koala

1 Family: Phascolarctidae

2 Scientific name: Phascolarctos cinereus (Goldfuss, 1817)

3 Common name: Koala

4 Conservation status: Lower Risk (near threatened): a, c

5 Past range and abundance:

Common throughout the broad band of forests and woodlands dominated by Eucalyptus spp. extending from north Qld to the south-eastern corner of mainland SA.

6 Present range and abundance:

North-eastern, central and south-eastern Qld with localised populations in some western areas

North-eastern, central and south-eastern Qld with localised populations in some western areas, eastern NSW including the coastal strip and highlands of the Great Dividing Range, western plains and related riparian environments where suitable habitat occurs, Vic. and SA.

The geographic range on the mainland has contracted significantly due to loss of large areas of habitat since European settlement. While remaining populations are widely distributed throughout the remaining range, habitat fragmentation and modification has resulted in an increased prevalence of predation, in addition to geographic and genetic isolation.

Introduced to at least 12 islands including Kangaroo (SA, 450 000 ha), French (Vic., 17 470 ha), Phillip (Vic., 10 116 ha), and Magnetic (Qld, 5 200 ha) (Abbott and Burbidge 1994) and to the Adelaide Region and along the Murray.

7 Habitat:

Occupies eucalypt forests and woodlands where there are acceptable food trees. Preferred food tree species vary with locality and there are quite distinct regional preferences.

8 Current threats:

During the latter half of the 19th century, Koala populations apparently increased in many parts of Victoria, possibly in response to removal of predation by Dingoes and Aboriginal people. By the turn of the century huge numbers were being killed for their pelts for a large export industry (Menkhorst 1995).

In the early decades of this century, Koala populations declined greatly, due to disease, commercial hunting and widespread habitat destruction. Commercial hunting ceased many decades ago and koala populations recovered in many areas.

Current threats are continued habitat destruction, fragmentation and modification, bushfires and disease, as well as drought associated mortality in habitat fragments. There are management problems with many populations, with remnant populations living at high densities in isolates of habitat being at greatest risk (Martin and Handasyde 1995). Predation, especially by domestic dogs, and mortality due to motor vehicles are of concern in some areas. Public concern for the species is high.

9 Recommended actions:

9.1 Complete and implement National Strategy for Conservation of the Koala (currently in draft form).

9.2 Develop appropriate PVA models applicable to the diversity of habitat types utilised by the species.

9.3 Conduct regional and local surveys of distribution, assessment of tree preferences and identification of key critical habitat areas for conservation.

9.4 Formulate and implement detailed regional management plans for the conservation of these populations.

9.5 Manage populations to prevent over-browsing at some sites in Vic. and SA.

9.6 Develop positive community involvement in Koala conservation and management.

References:

Abbott I. and Burbidge A.A. (1995). The occurrence of mammal species on the islands of Australia: a summary of existing knowledge. CALMScience 1(3), 259-324.

Lee A.K. and Martin R.E. 1988. The koala: a natural history. University of NSW Press, Sydney.

Lee A.K., Handasyde K.A. and Sanson G.D. 1991. The biology of the koala. Surrey Beatty and Sons, Chipping Norton, NSW.

Martin R.W. 1989. Draft management plan for the conservation of the Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) in Victoria. Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research Technical Report Series Number 99, Department of Conservation, Forests and Lands, Melbourne.

Martin R.W. and Handasyde K.A. 1995. Koala Phascolarctos cinereus. Pp. 196-198 in R. Strahan (Ed.) The Mammals of Australia. Reed Books, Chatswood, NSW.

Menkhorst P.W. 1995. Koala. Pp. 85-88 in P.W. Menkhorst (Ed.) Mammals of Victoria. Oxford University Press, Melbourne.


Taxon Summary

Tasmanian Bettong (Tas)

1 Family: Potoroidae

2 Scientific name: Bettongia gaimardi cuniculus (Ogilby 1838)

3 Common name: Tasmanian Bettong (Tas)

4 Conservation status: Lower Risk (near threatened): a

5 Past range and abundance:

Well known and widespread in eastern Tas. from sea level up to 1 000 m altitude in historic times. No estimates of former abundance available. Historic and present ranges similar. Past area of occupancy estimated at 1.5 million ha, which is 50% greater than present area occupied due to land clearing.

6 Present range and abundance:

Current population estimated at 60 000 individuals

Current population estimated at 60 000 individuals. Area occupied has decreased significantly through clearing and fragmentation of habitat for pasture. Found in habitat comprised of 14 plant communities that currently occupy 1 million ha (15% of the State: Driessen et al. 1990). Solitary, occurring at low density (0.06/ha) throughout most of the range. Habitat patches of at least 3300 ha are needed to maintain one viable population. Bettong habitat is poorly reserved. Sustainable populations occur in Mt William and Freycinet NPs, and smaller habitat patches occur in parts of Epping Forest NR, Maria Island and Douglas-Apsley NPs.

7 Habitat:

Well drained, open eucalypt or Casuarina forests and woodlands with grassy or heathy ground cover up to 1 000 m altitude. Occurs in 14 plant communities described in Driessen et al. (1990).

8 Current threats:

Land clearing and excessive grazing of stock. Repeated use of 1080 poison for wallaby control on private land. Possible introduction of foxes.

9 Recommended actions:

9.1 Reserve suitable dry sclerophyll habitats.

9.2 Maintain open habitat through appropriate fire management.

9.3 Continue monitoring abundance at selected sites throughout range.

9.4 Identify populations vulnerable to 1080 and implement measures to reduce its use in those districts.

9.5 Educate landowners on minimal use of 1080 and land clearing.

References:

Driessen M.M., Hocking G. J. and Beukers P. 1990. Habitat, conservation status and management of the Tasmanian Bettong, Bettongia gaimardi. Department of Parks, Wildlife and Heritage, Hobart (unpublished).

Rounsevell D.E., Taylor R.J. and Hocking G.J. 1991. Distribution records of native terrestrial mammals in Tasmania. Wildlife Research 18, 699-717.

Taxon Summary

Bennett's Tree-kangaroo

1 Family: Macropodidae

2 Scientific name: Dendrolagus bennettianus de Vis, 1887

3 Common name: Bennett's Tree-kangaroo

4 Conservation status: Lower Risk (near threatened): b

5 Past range and abundance:

Between the Daintree River and Cooktown in north Qld, in both upland and lowland rainforests.

6 Present range and abundance:

Substantially unchanged

Substantially unchanged. Over recent decades its range and abundance in lowland vine and riverine forests appears to have increased. This is attributed to relaxation of the pressure formerly imposed by traditional hunting and to some recent expansion in the area of suitable habitat. The latter appears a consequence of vegetation change brought about by the invasion of the open forest/closed forest ecotone by vines and other closed forest species and probably reflects a less intense fire regime.

7 Habitat:

Closed forest, including lowland vine forests and montane rainforests. Its staple diet is foliage from a limited number of preferred tree and vine species and some fruit.

8 Current threats:

Upland populations appear secure, the viability of lowland populations is probably threatened by continued subdivision and development of remaining tracts of lowland rainforest under freehold tenure, which will fragment tree-kangaroo habitat and increase their exposure to predation by domestic dogs. Resumption of traditional hunting might constitute a threat in the future.

9 Recommended actions:

9.1 Monitor distribution and abundance.

9.2 Continue research on population dynamics, especially in lowland and riverine forests.

References:

Martin R.W. and Johnson P.M. 1995. Bennett's Tree-kangaroo Dendrolagus bennettianus. Pp. 307-308 in R. Strahan (Ed.) The Mammals of Australia. Reed Books, Chatswood, NSW.


Taxon Summary

Lumholtz's Tree-kangaroo

1 Family: Macropodidae

2 Scientific name: Dendrolagus lumholtzi Collett, 1884

3 Common name: Lumholtz's Tree-kangaroo

4 Conservation status: Lower Risk (near threatened): b

5 Past range and abundance:

Rainforests between Ingham and Cairns in north Qld.

6 Present range and abundance:

Now largely restricted to upland rainforests because of extensive clearing of lowland rainforests Now largely restricted to upland rainforests because of extensive clearing of lowland rainforests. Its area of occupancy has declined substantially in upland areas because of clearing of rainforest on the Atherton Tableland.

7 Habitat:

Wet rainforests, often in secondary forests. Diet consists of fruit and leaves of a variety of rainforest plants.

8 Current threats:

Historically, the main threat has been reduction of habitat area, but this has ceased with the declaration of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, and the species appears to have been able to persist in fragmented habitat and evidently uses habitat corridors. Reforestation on the Atherton Tableland opens the possibility of some recovery of area of occupancy in the future.

9 Recommended actions:

9.1 Monitor distribution and abundance.

9.2 Study habitat utilisation and population dynamics in fragmented and regenerating rainforest habitats.

References:

Johnson P.M. 1995. Lumholtz's Tree-kangaroo Dendrolagus lumholtzi. Pp. 309-310 in R. Strahan (Ed.) The Mammals of Australia. Reed Books, Chatswood, NSW.

Proctor-Gray E. 1985. The behaviour and ecology of Lumholtz's Tree-kangaroo. PhD thesis, Harvard University, USA (unpublished).