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Bettongia tropica

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA MAMMALIA DIPROTODONTIA POTOROIDAE

Scientific Name: Bettongia tropica
Species Authority: Wakefield, 1967
Common Name(s):
English Northern Bettong

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B1ab(iii,v)+2ab(iii,v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Burnett, S. & Winter, J.
Reviewer(s): Lamoreux, J. & Hilton-Taylor, C. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
Justification:
Listed as Endangered in view of its extent of occurrence of less than 5,000 km2 and area of occupancy of less than 500 km2, all individuals are from less than 6 locations, and because there is a continuing decline in the extent and quality of habitat, and an inferred continuing decline in number of mature individuals in all locations due to habitat loss and degradation and changing fire regimes.
History:
1996 Endangered
1994 Endangered (Groombridge 1994)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: The Northern Bettong is endemic to north-eastern Queensland, Australia. There are currently three localities with extant populations: the western side of the Lamb Range (includes Davies Creek, Emu Creek and Tinaroo subpopulations), Mt. Carbine Tableland, and the Coane Range (Paluma). One other locality, Mt. Windsor Tableland, may have an extant population. A population in the vicinity of Ravenshoe has not been seen since the 1920s; presumably, the Northern Bettong has been extirpated from this area and it is not mapped. 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 (also not mapped) (Dennis 2001; Winter et al. 2008). It has been recorded at elevations between 800 m and 1,200 m asl (Winter et al. 2008).
Countries:
Native:
Australia (Queensland)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: It is considered rare and limited (Winter et al. 2008). Of the three localities with confirmed extant populations, only the Lamb Range has a substantial number of individuals over a broad area (densities of 4 to 7 individuals/km2). Mt. Carbine Tableland and the Coane Range both have small and restricted populations occurring at low densities (Dennis 2001; Winter et al. 2008).

No Northern Bettongs have been seen at Mt. Windsor Tableland since 2003, despite considerable effort, and the status of this population is unknown (Dennis 2001; Winter et al. 2008).
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: The Northern Bettong is found in a range of eucalypt forest types associated with granite soils, 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 (Dennis 2001; Winter et al. 2008).

This species is solitary and nocturnal. Home ranges are typically 50 – 70 hectares, but may be as large as 120 hectares (Winter et al. 2008). Northern Bettongs are heavily dependent on truffles (the underground fruiting bodies of fungi) as a food source throughout 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 (Winter et al. 2008).

Northern Bettongs reproduce year-round. Typically, a single young is born and remains in pouch about 100 days. Under optimal conditions, this animal can produce up to three young per year (Dennis 2001; Winter et al. 2008).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The small size of extant populations and a fragmented, isolated distribution across a limited geographic extent makes the Northern Bettong susceptible to stochastic events, inbreeding depression, and predation should even a few individuals of predators be introduced to their range (Dennis 2001).

This species is also threatened by habitat transformation, particularly at the wetter end of its habitat range. In these areas a lack of fire has led to invasion of rainforest species and ultimately to loss of habitat suitable for the Northern Bettong (Dennis 2001).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: 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.

Existing conservation measures include: surveys to determine the species’ distribution, relative population abundances, and habitat associations, research into fire related ecology, population genetics, and mating systems, surveys of fox distribution and abundance and the partial development of a fox control plan, and liaison with government agencies to manage state forests containing bettong populations for their conservation (Dennis 2001).

Conservation measures recommended by the recovery plan include: manage the habitat of the four known populations of Northern Bettong (monitor populations, map distribution and predicted distribution, survey potential habitat; fire and grazing management and research, negotiate for protection across land tenures at Lamb Range, and protect and manage other significant areas), monitor and control exotic predators and competitors, rehabilitate degraded habitat and re-introduce Northern Bettongs to their former range, and encourage community participation (Dennis 2001).

Citation: Burnett, S. & Winter, J. 2008. Bettongia tropica. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 23 August 2014.
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