National Recovery Plan for the Christmas Island Shrew (Crocidura attenuata trichura)
Prepared by Martin Schulz for
The Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2004
ISBN 0 642 55011 5
- Current Status
- Distribution and Location
- Known and Potential Threats
- Recovery Plan Objectives
- Biodiversity Benefits
- Estimated Cost
The Christmas Island Shrew Crocidura attenuata trichura is the only member of the shrew family (Soricidae) recorded in an Australian territory. Currently this species is listed as Endangered under the Environment Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). Due to current taxonomic uncertainty the phylogenetic relationship of the Christmas Island Shrew with closely related southeast Asian taxa requires resolution.
The species was widespread and abundant on Christmas Island at the time of settlement, occurring in rainforest on both the plateau and adjacent to the shoreline. It appeared to decline rapidly, with no subsequent records after 1908. The Christmas Island Shrew was thought to be extinct until an accidental finding of two single individuals in 1985. The species has not been recorded since these sightings, despite various subsequent targeted surveys, and therefore must be considered as extremely rare and possibly extinct. Habitat requirements critical to this species survival, including the provision of foraging, shelter and breeding resources are unknown.
Since the Christmas Island Shrew is so poorly known in terms of its conservation ecology, no known threats have been documented. However, the dramatic decline which occurred within 20 years of human settlement, suggests direct or indirect human threat. Current potential threatening processes include direct and indirect effects of the Yellow Crazy Ant Anoplolepis gracilipes, crazy ant control measures, habitat loss, disease, habitat alteration, predation and small population size.
The Recovery Plan is to follow two stages:
Stage 1: Prior to location of extant populations.
- To clarify the taxonomic status from existing museum specimens.
- To assess the current status and distribution through further targeted surveys.
- To develop a wildlife management program for habitat outside Christmas Island National Park
- To control the abundance and spread of the crazy ant.
- To implement a community awareness program that may assist in the location of previously unknown populations.
Stage 2: Subsequent to the location of extant populations.
- To establish captive breeding populations from any wild populations located, pending mitigation of the threat from the crazy ant and other potential predators and competitors.
- To effectively protect and manage wild populations.
- To identify habitat critical to survival, including shelter, breeding and foraging habitat.
- To determine and mitigate threatening processes affecting populations.
Protection and maintenance of plateau and terrace rainforests will benefit other endemic rainforest-dependent species.
Year of Implementation
|Action 1: Investigate the taxonomic||10,000||-||-||-||-||10,000|
|Action 2: Investigate current status and distribution#||58,000||58,000||58,000||58,000||58,000||290,000|
|Action 3: Development of wildlife management program outside CI National Park||*||*||*||*||*||-|
|Action 4: Control abundance and spread of the crazy ant||*||*||*||*||*||-|
|Action 5: Implement community awareness program||4,000||*||*||*||*||4,000|
# = The cost of Action 2 is dependent on the number of years taken to locate extant populations and fully determine its distribution;
* = Costs covered by Parks Australia North core duties.
Year of Implementation
|Action 2: Investigate current status and distribution#||58,000||-||-||-||-||58,000|
|Action 6: Establish captive population¥||50,000||30,000||30,000||30,000||30,000||170,000|
|Action 7: Manage located populations||10,000||10,000||10,000||10,000||10,000||50,000|
|Action 8: Identify and describe habitat critical||29,000||29,000||-||-||-||58,000|
|Action 9: Identify threatening processes||15,000||15,000||-||-||-||30,000|
# = Depending on the year of location of extant populations; ¥ = This cost is assuming no reintroduction of captive shrews into the wild.