Action Plan for Australian Marsupials and Monotremes
Wildlife Australia, December 1996
ISBN 0 6422 1395 X
In the Action Plan we have used common names for species from Strahan (1995) with some additions and changes. Where local usage of a different name is well established we have provided it, sometimes as the preferred name, in addition to the name in Strahan, e.g. Chuditch in preference to Western Quoll for Dasyurus geoffroii. For subspecies, we have either provided regional names, e.g. Woylie for Bettongia penicillata ogilbyi, or have provided descriptors after a more widely used name, e.g. Common Dunnart (N Qld) for Sminthopsis murina tatei.
No common names have been suggested previously for the two species of Notoryctes. We have used Kakarratul or Northern Marsupial Mole for N. caurinus and Itjaritjari or Southern Marsupial Mole for N. typhlops. The first name in each pair of names above is a widely used Aboriginal name for each species (Burbidge et al. 1988).
Categories of threat
AMMSG has assigned all taxa to the new IUCN Categories of Threat (IUCN 1994); these categories were agreed to by the Endangered Species Unit of Biodiversity Group, Environment Australia as satisfying the contractual obligations. Table 1 shows all Australian monotremes and marsupials and the status assigned in this Action Plan. It also shows the per cent decline in extent of occurrence. Appendix D compares the status assigned in this Action Plan with statuses in the 1992 Action Plan, and the current ANZECC status.
In December 1995 (which was the deadline for submissions), the editors, on behalf of AMMSG provided a draft list of Australian marsupial and monotreme taxa and IUCN Red List categories to the World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC) for inclusion in The 1996 Red List of Threatened Animals. Some changes were made to allocations to IUCN categories after this date as new information came in and, fortunately, the editors were able to provide the changes to the WCMC before the Red List was published.
Appendix E shows the distribution of taxa included in the Action Plan by family and Appendix F shows their distribution by Australian States and Territories.
The new IUCN Red List Categories include a category "Lower Risk (near threatened)" (LR(nt)). This was defined by IUCN as "Taxa which do not qualify for threatened, but which are close to qualifying for Vulnerable", but they provided no other guidelines. Participants at the workshop agreed that objective criteria for allocating taxa to this category were needed, and formulated the following:
- a Reduced area of occupancy and/or extent of occurrence:
- Taxa that have disappeared from >50% of their former area of occupancy and/or extent of occurrence and are at risk of further decline.
- b Restricted extent of occurrence or area of occupancy:
- Taxa with extent of occurrence < 20 000 km2 or area of occupancy < 2 000 km2 that are not declining.
- c Declined in abundance:
- Taxa that have experienced a significant and continuing decline in abundance in > 50% of their former area of occupancy and/or extent of occurrence.
- d Small population:
- Taxa with population < 3 000 mature individuals, or unknown but suspected to be small.
These definitions have been used to allocate taxa to the IUCN Category LR(nt) in this Action Plan.
The status of all species was agreed at the workshop, with minor changes being made afterwards in the light of new information.
IUCN have made it clear that they do not wish taxa to be allocated to the category "Data Deficient" (DD) unless there is a real lack of useful information. AMMSG was very aware of this guideline and endeavoured to allocate taxa to one of the other categories in all cases. In only three cases were we not able to do this and had to provide DD as the category.
Under 'Transfer between categories' IUCN (1994) state: "there are rules to govern the movement of taxa between categories. These are as follows: (A) A taxon may be moved from a category of higher threat to a category of lower threat if none of the criteria of the higher category has been met for 5 years or more. (B) If the original classification is found to have been erroneous, the taxon may be transferred to the appropriate category or removed from the threatened categories altogether, without delay. (C) Transfer from categories of lower risk to higher risk should be made without delay." (p. 8).
AMMSG have followed these rules even though the 1994 IUCN criteria have not been previously applied to Australian monotremes or marsupials. Some notable decisions on allocations to categories affected by these rules include:
- Eastern Barred Bandicoot (mainland) (Perameles gunnii Gray 1838 undescribed subspecies). When the subspecies was evaluated in 1995, it met criteria for Vulnerable. However, less than five years previously the taxon met criteria for Critically Endangered. We have followed transfer between category rule (A) and allocated it to Critically Endangered.
- Woylie (Bettongia penicillata ogilbyi). This is the only taxon allocated to Lower Risk (conservation dependent). From information provided by the Woylie Recovery Team it was clear that the Woylie had not met criteria for Vulnerable for at least five years. However, its persistence depends on habitat-specific conservation programs (particularly fox control), the cessation of which would result in the taxon qualifying for Vulnerable within five years.