Over 20 Australian mammals have become extinct since European settlement. More than 50 mammal species are now on the brink, listed by the Federal Government as nationally threatened with extinction. Below are just a couple of AWC’s results to date, highlighting the importance of AWC – and the critical role of feral predator-free areas – in preventing the extinction of several species.
The Greater Bilby once occupied a large proportion of arid and semi-arid Australia. However, it is now restricted to populations in the Gibson, Great Sandy and Tanami Deserts, parts of the Pilbara and south-western Queensland. There are a small number of reintroduced populations, including AWC populations at Scotia and Yookamurra. The primary causes of their widespread decline are predation by foxes and feral cats plus competition from rabbits.
Population outside of AWC properties: It is estimated that the remaining population – not including AWC sanctuaries – is around 8,000 animals.
AWC’s contribution: The Scotia population of Bilbies is estimated at more than 2,000 animals, while Yookamurra protects around 40 animals. AWC therefore protects around 20% of the world population of the Greater Bilby.
Bridled Nailtail Wallaby
The Bridled Nailtail Wallaby was presumed extinct until it was rediscovered in 1973. It was once widespread, extending from the Murray River region of western Victoria through central-western NSW and as far north as Charters Towers in Queensland. The combined effect of habitat loss (land clearing) and feral predators (cats and foxes) pushed this macropod to the brink of extinction – it was not sighted between 1937 and 1973 – and it is now found only in four wild populations: three in Queensland and one at AWC’s Scotia Wildlife Sanctuary.
Population outside of AWC properties: The three combined Queensland populations have declined to an estimated 300–500 animals.
AWC’s contribution: Our most recent estimate for the wild Scotia population is over 2,000. AWC therefore protects over 80% of the world population.
To learn more about how AWC is saving Australia’s threatened wildlife, please read pages 10-11 of the Summer 2012-2013 issue of Wildlife Matters here.
Find out more at Australian Wildlife Conservancy