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Isoodon auratus

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA MAMMALIA PERAMELEMORPHIA PERAMELIDAE

Scientific Name: Isoodon auratus
Species Authority: (Ramsay, 1887)
Common Name(s):
English Golden Bandicoot
French Péramèle Doré
Taxonomic Notes: Genetic evidence suggests that Isoodon auratus is closely related to I. obesulus, and they may in fact be the same species (Pope et al. 2001, Zenger et al. 2005). The two forms/species appear to have remained allopatric since long before European arrival, even during the Pleistocene (McKenzie et al. 2008).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable B1ab(ii,iii,iv,v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Burbidge, A., Woinarski, J. & Morris, K.
Reviewer(s): Lamoreux, J. & Hilton-Taylor, C. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
Justification:
Listed as Vulnerable because it has an extent of occurrence of less than 20,000 km2, its distribution is severely fragmented, all individuals are known from less than 10 locations, and there is a continuing decline in: area of occupancy, suitable habitat, number of locations, and number of mature individuals.
History:
1996 Vulnerable
1994 Endangered (Groombridge 1994)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: The Golden Bandicoot is endemic to Australia, where it occurs in Western Australia and the Northern Territory. This species used to be very widespread in the interior of the country, but now it is confined to the high rainfall areas of the north-western Kimberley (including Augustus and Uwins Islands) (Western Australia), Barrow and Middle Islands off the Pilbara coast (Western Australia), and Marchinbar Island (Northern Territory) (McKenzie et al. 2008).
Countries:
Native:
Australia
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The Golden Bandicoot is sparsely distributed within the mainland Western Australia and recent population declines have occurred here. It is abundant on Barrow Island, being the most common mammal, with at least 20,000 individuals (McKenzie et al. 2008). There are estimated to be 1,000 on Middle Island. There have been no recent declines on Barrow or Middle Islands. No population estimates are available for Uwins or Augustus Islands, but the species is said to be relatively common on the former and sparse on the latter. From surveys conducted in 1994-1995, 1,400 individuals were estimated to occur on Marchinbar Island (Southgate et al. 1995), and a re-survey (June 2006) indicated that population levels have remained about the same (Palmer and Woinarski 2006).
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species is known from a variety of habitats including rainforest margins, coastal scrub, heath, sandstone with spinifex, and tussock grasslands and with an overstorey of acacia or eucalyptus. Individuals maintain overlapping home ranges of from 12-35 ha. Their diet comprises a broad range of invertebrates.
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): On mainland Kimberley, Golden Bandicoots are threatened by changing fire regimes and cats. These two threats work synergistically to the detriment of the species, whereby groundcover reduced by fire makes bandicoots more susceptible to predation (Palmer et al. 2003). Feral dogs on Marchinbar may have been a minor threat, but these were eradicated in 2004-2005 (Palmer and Woinarski 2006). There is a serious risk of introduced predators establishing on Barrow and Middle Islands. Lower densities on Middle Island (relative to Barrow Island) may have been due to competition from the introduced Black Rat (Rattus rattus), however, these were eradicated in 1993 and since then numbers appear to have increase (Morris 2002; McKenzie et al. 2008).

The reasons for past declines of the Golden Bandicoot are unknown. It declined in south-western and eastern Kimberley soon after the spread of pastoralism (Friend 1990). Rapid decline in the desert regions may have been due to introduced predators and changed fire regimes. The species became extinct on Hermite Island (near Barrow and Middle) shortly before 1912, probably due to predation by feral cats (Burbidge 1971).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The Golden Bandicoot is listed as a threatened species under Australian law. It is present in a number of protected areas and a recovery plan was developed for the 2004-2009 period (Palmer et al. 2003). Recommendations from this plan include: monitoring the species to determine population trends; translocating individuals from Marchinbar Island to other suitable islands; determining the threatening processes on the mainland and working to ameliorate them; and communicating with stakeholders.

Citation: Burbidge, A., Woinarski, J. & Morris, K. 2008. Isoodon auratus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 22 October 2014.
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