Perameles bougainville 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Peramelemorphia Peramelidae

Scientific Name: Perameles bougainville Quoy & Gaimard, 1824
Common Name(s):
English Western Barred Bandicoot, Barred Bandicoot, Long-nosed Bandicoot, Mal, Nymal
French Bandicoot De Bougainville, Péramèle À Bandes De L´ouest
Spanish Tejón Marsupial Rayado

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable D2 ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2014-03-16
Assessor(s): Burbidge, A.A. & Woinarski, J.
Reviewer(s): Hawkins, C.
Contributor(s): Kabat, X., Legge, S., Reinhold, L., Richards, J., Short, J. & Start, T.

The Western Barred Bandicoot is extinct on the mainland and on Dirk Hartog and Faure Islands and its only natural occurrences are on Bernier and Dorre Islands, Shark Bay, Western Australia. The subpopulations there undergo substantial fluctuations in abundance, depending on seasonal conditions, with that fluctuation approaching one order of magnitude. The species was reintroduced to Faure Island in 2005 and this subpopulation is now growing. It was translocated (assisted colonization) to the Arid Recovery Project mainland island (Roxby Downs, South Australia) in 2000 and this subpopulation is also self-sustaining. This species is listed as Vulnerable under criterion D2 as there are fewer than five locations and there are plausible threats to all subpopulations because of the drying climate in Shark Bay, short generation length and large local fluctuations in subpopulation size.

Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:

The Western Barred Bandicoot formerly occurred from near Onslow, Western Australia, through the south-west of Western Australia (Friend 1990), the Nullarbor Plain and southern South Australia (Kemper 1990) to western New South Wales and north-western Victoria (Menkhorst and Seebeck 1990). The species is now extinct on the mainland and on Dirk Hartog (Baynes 1990) and Faure Islands (Baynes 2008), becoming restricted to Bernier and Dorre Islands, Shark Bay. It was successfully translocated to Faure Island, Shark Bay, in 2005, and to the Arid Recovery Project mainland island, Roxby Downs, South Australia in 2000 (Moseby et al. 2011).

Countries occurrence:
Australia (South Australia - Reintroduced, Western Australia)
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:150Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):No
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:150
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):NoExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Number of Locations:4Continuing decline in number of locations:No
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:No
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]


The former abundance of the Western Barred Bandicoot on the mainland is unknown, but early accounts suggest that it was abundant in some areas. For Bernier and Dorre Islands, Short et al. (1997) estimated that the combined minimum population estimate was 2200 to 4000, depending on conditions of drought or average rainfall respectively. These subpopulations undergo very substantial fluctuations in abundance depending on seasonal conditions (Short et al. 1997).  Numbers were reported by Short et al. (1997) to decline 75% in a drought extending from October 1986 to April 1989. In more recent years, the Department of Environment and Conservation has been using spotlight traverses and ‘Distance’ software to estimate the population on Bernier and Dorre Islands annually (from 2006 to 2013). Results show that in response to rainfall conditions, the subpopulation on Bernier Island has fluctuated between an estimated 120 and 900 animals, and the subpopulation on Dorre Island between 140 and 1500 animals (L. Reinhold pers. comm. 2014). The Faure Island subpopulation was estimated to be 100 in 2009 and over 500 in 2011 (S. Legge pers. comm. 2014). It can be anticipated that this subpopulation will also fluctuate substantially in response to rainfall once it reaches carrying capacity. The estimate of subpopulation size at the Arid Recovery mainland island in 2011 was 350 ( Monitoring is undertaken via track counts; data show that numbers increased following the initial translocation and have remained steady over the past 3-5 years (C. Lynch pers. comm. 2014). It seems likely that the two translocated subpopulations will fluctuate substantially once they reach carrying capacity because of the short generation length and varying rainfall.

Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:1000-5000Continuing decline of mature individuals:No
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

The Western Barred Bandicoot is the smallest bandicoot and the only one where females are larger than males, although this may be the case only on Bernier and Dorre Islands and be the result of island dwarfism (Short et al. 1998). Habitats recorded for mainland animals included a variety of fairly open vegetation types in semi-arid and arid parts of southern Australia, such as ‘at the base of elevated dunes’ on Peron Peninsula, Shark Bay (Quoy and Gaimard 1824), dense scrub including thickets of Allocasuarina seedlings, open bluebush and saltbush plains and stony hills bordering scrub (Friend 2008). Their preference for open vegetation, contrasting with Isoodon spp., which typically occur in more dense vegetation, would have made them particularly susceptible to predation by feral Cats and Red Foxes (Short et al. 1998).

On Bernier and Dorre Islands Western Barred Bandicoots are particularly common in scrub associated with vegetated dunes behind beaches, but occur in all vegetation types (Friend 2008; Short et al. 1998). They shelter during daytime in well-concealed nests made from plant material and constructed in a hemispherical hollow scrape beneath a low or prostrate shrub. Near the coast, nests may be made from accumulated dead seagrass (Friend 2008).

As with other bandicoot species the adult sex ratio of trapped animals is male biased even though pouch young are close to 1:1. This may be due to adult males having a larger home range and being more mobile than females. One to three pouch young are carried between March and November, suggesting that breeding does not occur in summer. Females can reach sexual maturity in 3-5 months of age at a body weight of 175 g, or 74% of average adult weight. Sexual maturity in males occurs a little later, at 4-6 months or 195 g, being 93% of average adult weight. The subpopulation size after a drought on Dorre Island broke doubled in 1.07 years (Short et al. 1998). Winter breeding in this species makes it dependent on adequate late summer and/or winter rainfall. However the data from Faure Island suggest higher reproductive rate in spring, possibly due to greater resource availability and recent rainfall in the winter months (S. Legge pers. comm. 2014).

Mean longevity at Heirisson Prong was eight months for males and ten months for females, although one animal lived to at least 4.25 years; however, this subpopulation was subjected to low levels of predation by feral Cats (Richards and Short 2003). On Faure Island, median lifespan is about 3 years (S. Legge pers. comm. 2014). In captivity longevity has been as high as 8 years (Richards 2011). Adult longevity in the wild is unknown, but is assumed to be about two to three years, similar to that reported for the Eastern Barred Bandicoot P. gunnii (Seebeck and Menkhorst 2008). As sexual maturity is reached by five months, the generation time is here assumed to be 1 to 1.5 years.

Papillomas and carcinomas have been detected in Western Barred Bandicoots from Bernier Island and these have been shown to be caused by a previously-unknown virus (Woolford et al. 2007) that can cause death. A workshop held in 2002 (Friend 2002) resulted in management and research recommendations aimed at minimising the spread of the virus from Bernier Island and ensuring that translocated animals were free of the disease. The presence of this disease has meant that only Dorre Island bandicoots are available for translocations.

Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Unknown
Generation Length (years):1.5
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The current major threats to the natural subpopulations of the species include: the accidental introduction of predators (introduced cats and foxes), fire, and disease (Richards 2007). These same threats apply to varying degrees to the reintroduced populations. Fluctuations in subpopulations on islands are a threat, but this threat is seen as minor relative to the risk of exotic predators being introduced (Short et al. 1997). However, with extreme weather events becoming more common and all but one location for the species being located in Shark Bay, these fluctuations are a cause for concern. Introduced rats and mice are also a concern, but to a lesser degree than introduced predators.

On the mainland this species was probably extirpated through predation by introduced cats, dogs, and foxes, modification of vegetation by rabbits and stock, and possibly changed fire regimes in parts of the range (Maxwell et al. 1996). Pathogens are a problem in Bernier Island (they seem to be endemic in the subpopulation); the impact of these diseases on the subpopulation size is unknown.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is listed as a threatened species under Australian law. 

It has been translocated (assisted colonization) to the fenced Heirisson Prong mainland island in 1995 (where it did not persist beyond 2008), to Faure Island, Shark Bay, in 2005, and to the Arid Recovery Project mainland island, Roxby Downs, South Australia in 2000 (Moseby et al. 2011); the last two being successful.

Bernier and Dorre Islands are a Class A Nature Reserve vested in the Conservation Commission of Western Australia and managed by the Department of Parks and Wildlife. Faure Island is a pastoral lease owned and managed by the Australian Wildlife Conservancy as a sanctuary. Heirisson Prong was part of a pastoral lease owned by Shark Bay Salt Joint Venture Pty Ltd (it is now unallocated Crown land) and is managed by The Useless Loop Community Biosphere Project Group, assisted by Wildlife Research and Management Pty Ltd. The Arid Recovery site at Roxby Downs is managed by a joint conservation initiative between BHP Billiton, the local community, the South Australian Department for Environment and Natural Resources and The University of Adelaide, supported by Friends of Arid Recovery. Conservation of Western Barred Bandicoots is coordinated by the Western Barred Bandicoot, Burrowing Bettong and Banded Hare-Wallaby Recovery Team.

Conservation Objectives:
1. Maintain island and mainland island subpopulations
2. Reintroduce to Dirk Hartog Island and other secure sites
3. Maintain captive ‘insurance’ colonies

Citation: Burbidge, A.A. & Woinarski, J. 2016. Perameles bougainville. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T16569A21965819. . Downloaded on 25 September 2018.
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