|Scientific Name:||Bettongia tropica|
|Species Authority:||Wakefield, 1967|
|Taxonomic Notes:||Groves in Wilson and Reeder (1993) considered this to be a synonym of B. penicillata. See Nowak (1999) for other arguments. The Australasian Marsupial SG maintain this as a good species (Andrew Burbidge pers. comm).|
|Red List Category & Criteria:||Endangered B2ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v) ver 3.1|
|Assessor(s):||Burbidge, A.A. & Woinarski, J.|
|Reviewer(s):||Johnson, C.N. & Hawkins, C.|
|Contributor(s):||Baker, A., Kanowski, J., Legge, S. & Pacifici, M.|
The Northern Bettong is assessed as Endangered because its area of occupancy is <200 km², all individuals are from fewer than six locations (probably three), there is a continuing decline in the extent and quality of habitat, and an inferred continuing decline in number of mature individuals due to habitat loss and degradation and changing fire regimes, as well as a possible decline in the number of locations.
|Previously published Red List assessments:|
|Range Description:||The Northern Bettong is endemic to north-eastern Queensland. Currently there are three localities with extant populations: the western side of the Lamb Range (includes Davies Creek, Emu Creek and Tinaroo subpopulations), the western edge of the Mt Carbine Tableland, and the Coane Range (Paluma) (last confirmed record 2003: Dennis 2012). One other locality, Mt Windsor Tableland, may have an extant population (last confirmed record 2003: Dennis 2012). A population in the vicinity of Ravenshoe has not been seen since the 1920s. A single individual was recorded from the Dawson Valley (near Rockhampton) in 1884; no Northern Bettongs have been seen in this area since that year (Dennis 2001; Winter et al. 2008). It has been recorded at elevations between 800 m and 1,200 m asl (Winter et al. 2008). Although Mt Spurgeon (Carbine Tableland) has not been properly surveyed since the early 1990s, recent unconfirmed records of Northern Bettongs have been received from a reliable source (A. Baker pers. comm).|
|Range Map:||Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.|
|Population:||Of the three localities with confirmed extant populations, only the Lamb Range (includes Davies Creek, Emu Creek and Tinaroo subpopulations) has a substantial number of individuals over a broad area (densities of 4-7 individuals/km²). Mt. Carbine Tableland (and formerly the Coane Range) have small and restricted subpopulations occurring at low densities (Dennis 2001, Winter et al. 2008). No Northern Bettongs have been seen at either the Coane Range or Mt Windsor Tableland since 2003, despite considerable survey effort, and the status of this population is unknown (Dennis 2001, Winter et al. 2008, Bateman et al. 2012b, Mulder et al. 2012).|
|Current Population Trend:||Decreasing|
|Habitat and Ecology:|
The Northern Bettong is found only within a thin strip of sclerophyll forest along the western margin of rainforest in the ecotone between savanna woodland and rainforest. Its habitat includes a range of eucalypt forest types, from tall and wet forest dominated by Eucalyptus grandis and tall forest dominated by E. resinifera, abutting the rainforest, to medium height and drier woodlands dominated by Corymbia citriodora and C. platyphylla (Johnson and McIlwee 1997, Dennis 2001, Winter et al. 2008).
This species is solitary and nocturnal. Northern Bettongs are heavily dependent on truffles (the underground fruiting bodies of fungi) as a food source during the wetter parts of the year. The more than 35 species eaten comprise over 45% of their diet, depending on location and season. They also eat roots, tubers, the underground parts of grasses, small invertebrates, and seeds; Cockatoo Grass Alloteropsis semialata is particularly important food when truffle abundance is low (Winter et al. 2008, Bateman and Johnson 2011). During the late part of the dry season when truffle availability is low they are particularly dependent on the swollen underground tubers of Cockatoo Grass (A. Baker pers. comm).
Home ranges are typically 50-70 hectares, but may be as large as 120 hectares (Winter et al. 2008). Vernes (2003) found that male Northern Bettongs have a larger range of movements than females, 72 ± 10.9 ha versus 49 ± 8.4 ha. However, both genders had a high mean rate of movement while foraging. Ranges overlapped for individuals, both between and within sexes. At the site studied by Vernes (2000), small-scale, low intensity fire had no impact on the location or use of individuals’ home ranges. Both during and after a fire, individuals remained within the limits of their movements prior to the fire and there was no direct or indirect mortality of bettongs associated with fire. Despite the lack of broad-scale changes to movements associated with fire, there were clear changes in the fine scale movements and foraging patterns of bettongs immediately after a fire. Search effort for truffles becomes focussed, the level of foraging success is higher and the foraging path more sinuous in recently burnt areas compared to unburnt areas (Vernes 2000). At the site studied by Vernes (2000), fire did not completely remove cover, with bettongs particularly seeking shelter under boulders which are common at the site; the impacts of fire may be different elsewhere, particularly sites on rhyolite (much of the Coane Range population) where boulders are rare.
|Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:||Yes|
|Generation Length (years):||3|
|Movement patterns:||Not a Migrant|
The main threats tot his species are:
The Northern Bettong is listed as a threatened species under Australian law. Part of its range occurs within the Lamb Range State Forest, Davies Creek National Park, and Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. A detailed recovery plan has been developed for the species within Queensland (Dennis 2001). It is listed on Appendix I of CITES.
Past conservation actions have been described by Dennis (2001) and included surveys, research into fire ecology including investigating the impact of varying fire regimes on Northern Bettong food resources (truffles and cockatoo grass) and a GPS tracking study investigating micro habitat use following prescribed burning, research into population genetics and mating systems, surveys of fox distribution and abundance and the partial development of a fox control plan.
Current management, monitoring and research includes cattle exclusion research investigating the recovery of/impact on resources (cockatoo grass) following exclusion of feral cattle, application of fire management a research program. Findings indicated application of landscape mosaic burn pattern in the early to mid dry season was most conducive to creating the species-diverse open structured ground layer preferred by the Northern Bettong. This regime is also most suitable for the survival and proliferation of cockatoo grass, a food resource essential to Bettongs in the late dry season when truffle availability is lowConservation of the Northern Bettong is the responsibility of the Queensland Department of National Parks, Recreation, Sport and Racing. Most of its habitat has now been incorporated into the protected area estate, both government and private (Australian Wildlife Conservancy), and is being managed for the bettong’s conservation by de-stocking, ceasing logging, managing fire and weeds and monitoring the vegetation and the bettong. Surveys of fox distribution and abundance have been initiated. A trial reintroduction was attempted near Ravenshoe in 2005-2006, but failed, and the captive colony from which the reintroduction was initiated no longer exists.
|Citation:||Burbidge, A.A. & Woinarski, J. 2016. Bettongia tropica. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T2787A21961037.Downloaded on 19 January 2017.|
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