Dendrolagus lumholtzi 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Diprotodontia Macropodidae

Scientific Name: Dendrolagus lumholtzi Collett, 1884
Common Name(s):
English Lumholtz's Tree Kangaroo, Boongary, Lumholtz' Tree-kangaroo
French Dendrolague de Lumholtz
Spanish Canguro Arborícola de Lumholtz

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2014-05-18
Assessor(s): Woinarski, J. & Burbidge, A.A.
Reviewer(s): Hawkins, C.
Contributor(s): Kanowski, J., Martin, R. & Winter, J.

Lumholtz’s Tree-kangaroo has a restricted distribution (extent of occurrence <20,000 km2 and area of occupancy < 2,000 km2). The number of locations is unknown but probably not substantially more than 10. The population size is >10,000 mature individuals. There is no reliable assessment of trends in population size, but limited information provides weak (and inconsistent) inference of continuing population decline. Declines over last, or next three generation period are unlikely to approach 30%, so are insufficient to qualify for criterion A.

Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is present in the rainforests between Ingham and Mossman in north-eastern Queensland, Australia. It is now largely restricted to upland rainforests because of extensive clearing of lowland rainforests. Its area of occupancy has declined substantially in upland areas because of clearing of prime habitat on basalt soils on the Atherton Tableland. About 41,000 ha of the original 66,000 ha of this habitat cleared (Kanowski et al. 2003). The elevational range is sea level to 1,600 m asl.
Countries occurrence:
Australia (Queensland)
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:328-2000Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:9095
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):NoExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Continuing decline in number of locations:No
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:No
Upper elevation limit (metres):1600
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]


Kanowski et al. (2001a) estimated that the 650 km2 of high altitude rainforest (>800 m a.s.l.) in the Wet Tropics World Heritage area supported 10,000 to 20,000 individuals, and this would represent the majority of the population.

Johnson and Newell (2008) considered it ‘sparse’. Winter et al. (2008) reported that it ‘is common in suitable habitat’. Densities are higher at elevations above 700 to 800 m. a.s.l. (Kanowski et al. 2001a, 2003). A maximum density of 1 individual/ha was reported across a set of 40 sampled rainforest sites in the Atherton Tablelands area, with mean abundance of  0.4 individuals per hectare (Kanowski et al. 2001b). Density is greater in forests on nutrient-rich basalt soils than on nutrient-poor acid igneous and metamorphic soils (Newell 1999c; Kanowski et al. 2001ab, 2003). In one rainforest regrowth fragment, on highly fertile basalt soils, Newell (1999a) reported densities of 1.4-1.5 individuals per hectare.

Winter et al. (2008) reported that its population size was stable. However, Laurance et al. (2008) reported a highly significant decline (of about 60%) in abundance in four intact rainforest sites sampled in 1986-87 and again in 2006-07, although this change may have been due to disturbance-related changes in forest structure and hence detectability (Laurance et al. 2008; R. Martin pers. comm. 2014). Kanowski et al. (2008) sampled nine intact forest sites in 1995-97 and again in 2006, six to eight months after Cyclone Larry had damaged vegetation at these sites, and reported a weakly significant trend for decrease in abundance across this sampling period, albeit with interpretation compromised by a small number of records for this species. However, abundance estimates based on spotlighting have some constraints due to low detectability (Newell 1999a; Martin 2005; R. Martin pers. comm. 2014) and population trends across the range of this species are not yet well established.

Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:10000-30000Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
Continuing decline in subpopulations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

Lumholtz’s Tree-kangaroo is restricted mostly to rainforest habitats, but also extends along riparian vegetation through primarily open forest habitats, and less abundantly in wet sclerophyll forests along the western edge of the Atherton Tablelands (Kanowski et al. 2001a).

Lumholtz’s Tree-kangaroo is mainly nocturnal, but also intermittently active during daylight hours.  Its diet mostly comprises foliage from a broad range of tree species and some vines, although Newell (1999a) noted that individual tree-kangaroos each used only a small set of plant species. It is predominantly arboreal.

 Lumholtz’s Tree-kangaroos occupy some rainforest fragments (even fragments <20 ha) (Laurance 1990, 1991, 1995, 1997; Laurance et al. 2008), although populations in such fragments may have limited long-term viability. Individuals can disperse through unsuitable habitat, but at such times may be particularly susceptible to predation by dogs, and to being killed by vehicles (Kanowski and Tucker 2002).

Climate change and associated factors have been predicted to have a major detrimental impact on this species, acting directly or indirectly through reduction in rainforest area, reduction in foliar nitrogen concentration, habitat degradation due to increased incidence of severe cyclones, increased incidence of high temperatures, and reduced incidence of free water in mist (Kanowski 2001, 2004; Kanowski et al. 2001; Winter 2004). Williams et al. (2003) predicted that increasing temperatures will result in the significant reduction of the core environment for this species.

 Lumholtz’s Tree-kangaroos are mostly solitary within loose social groups, typically with one male and several females. In high quality habitat (fertile recent basalt-derived soils), males occupy home ranges of about 2 ha, which may encompass the non-overlapping and smaller (1-2 ha) ranges of several females (Newell 1999a; Johnson and Newell 2008). Site fidelity is very strong, with individuals reported to stay in their home range even if clearing or disturbance renders it unsuitable (Newell 1999bc).

Breeding is broadly seasonal, with females producing a single young, mostly during the wet season. Age to maturity is two years for females and 4.6 years for males (Johnson and Newell 2008).

Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:No
Generation Length (years):8
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Historically, the main threat has been reduction of habitat, but this has ceased with the declaration of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, and the species appears to have been able to persist in the mosaic of fragmented habitat (particularly where there are available habitat corridors). On the Atherton Tableland, increased fragmentation makes them more vulnerable to predation by dogs, although strategic reforestation on the Atherton Tableland opens the possibility of some recovery of its original area of occupancy in the future (Maxwell et al. 1996). In agricultural areas where it occurs, predation by dogs and road kills represent threats. Climate change and associated factors have been predicted to have a major detrimental impact on this species, acting directly or indirectly through reduction in rainforest area, reduction in foliar nitrogen concentration, habitat degradation due to increased incidence of severe cyclones, increased incidence of high temperatures, and reduced incidence of free water in mist (Kanowski 2001, 2004; Kanowski et al. 2001; Winter 2004).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is present in the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. The species has been promoted as a flagship species, and it has a very high profile in the region where it occurs. Recommended conservation actions for this species, from Maxwell et al. (1996), include: monitor distribution and abundance; study habitat utilization and population dynamics in fragmented and regenerating rainforest habitats.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.5. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
1. Forest -> 1.6. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland
1. Forest -> 1.9. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Montane
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.1. Artificial/Terrestrial - Arable Land
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.6. Artificial/Terrestrial - Subtropical/Tropical Heavily Degraded Former Forest
2. Land/water management -> 2.2. Invasive/problematic species control
2. Land/water management -> 2.3. Habitat & natural process restoration

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
  Action Recovery plan:No
  Systematic monitoring scheme:Yes
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
  Area based regional management plan:No
In-Place Species Management
  Successfully reintroduced or introduced beningly:No
  Subject to ex-situ conservation:No
In-Place Education
  Subject to recent education and awareness programmes:Yes
11. Climate change & severe weather -> 11.3. Temperature extremes
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Majority (50-90%) ♦ severity:Unknown ⇒ Impact score:Unknown 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

11. Climate change & severe weather -> 11.4. Storms & flooding
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Majority (50-90%) ♦ severity:Rapid Declines ⇒ Impact score:Medium Impact: 7 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

8. Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases -> 8.1. Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases -> 8.1.2. Named species [ Canis familiaris ]
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

Bibliography [top]

IUCN. 2016. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2016-1. Available at: (Accessed: 30 June 2016).

Johnson, P. M., and Newell, G. R. 2008. Lumholtz’s Tree-kangaroo Dendrolagus lumholtzi. In: S. Van Dyck and R. Strahan (eds), The mammals of Australia, pp. 310-311. Reed New Holland, Sydney.

Jones, K.E., Bielby, J., Cardillo, M., Fritz, S.A., O'Dell, J., Orme, C.D.L., Safi, K., Sechrest, W., Boakes, E.H., Carbone, C., Connolly, C., Cutts, M.J., Foster, J.K., Grenyer, R., Habib, M., Plaster, C.A., Price, S.A., Rigby, E.A., Rist, J., Teacher, A., Bininda-Emonds, O.R.P., Gittleman, J.L., Mace, G.M. and Purvis, A. 2009. PanTHERIA: a species-level database of life history, ecology and geography of extant and recently extinct mammals. Ecology 90: 2648.

Kanowski, J. 2001. Effects of elevated CO2 on the foliar chemistry of seedlings of two rainforest trees from north-east Australia: implications for folivorous marsupials. Austral Ecology 26: 165-172.

Kanowski, J. 2004. What factors control the distribution and abundance of folivorous possums inhabiting rainforests of the Atherton Tablelands in north-east Queensland? In: R.L. Goldingay and S.M. Jackson (eds), The biology of Australian possums and gliders, pp. 539-548. Surrey Beatty and Sons, Sydney.

Kanowski, J. and Tucker, N. I. J. 2002. Trial of shelter poles to aid the dispersal of tree-kangaroos on the Atherton Tablelands, north Queensland. Ecological Management and Restoration 3: 137-138.

Kanowski, J., Catterall, C.P. and Winter, J.W. 2008. Impacts of cyclone Larry on arboreal folivorous marsupials endemic to upland rainforests of the Atherton Tableland, Australia. Austral Ecology 33: 541-548.

Kanowski, J., Felderhof, L., Newell, G., Parker, T., Schmidt, C., Wilson, R., and Winter, J.W. 2001. Community survey of the distribution of Lumholtz’s Tree-kangaroo on the Atherton Tablelands, north-east Queensland. Pacific Conservation Biology 7: 79-86.

Kanowski, J., Hopkins, M. S., Marsh, H. and Winter, J. W. 2001. Ecological correlates of folivore abundance in north Queensand rainforests. Wildlife Research 28: 1-8.

Kanowski, J.J., Winter, J.W., Simmons, T. and Tucker, N.I.J. 2003. Conservation strategy for Lumholtz's tree-kangaroo on the Atherton Tablelands. Ecological Management and Restoration 4: 220-221.

Laurance, W F. 1990. Comparative responses of five arboreal marsupials to tropical forest fragmentation. Journal of Mammalogy 71: 641-653.

Laurance, W.F. 1991. Ecological correlates of extinction proneness in Australian tropical rain forest mammals. Conservation Biology 5: 79-89.

Laurance, W.F. 1995. Extinction and survival of rainforest mammals in a fragmented tropical landscape. In: W.Z. Lidicker (ed.), Landscape approaches in mammalian ecology and conservation, pp. 46-63. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis.

Laurance, W.F. 1997. Responses of mammals to rainforest fragmentation in tropical Queensland: a review and synthesis. Wildlife Research 24: Wildlife Research.

Laurance, W.F., Laurance, S.G., and Hilbert, D.W. 2008. Long-term dynamics of a fragmented rainforest mammal assemblage. Conservation Biology 22: 1154-1164.

Martin, R.W. 2005. Tree-kangaroos of Australia and New Guinea. CSIRO, Melbourne.

Maxwell, S., Burbidge, A.A. and Morris, K. 1996. The 1996 Action Plan for Australian Marsupials and Monotremes. Australasian Marsupial and Monotreme Specialist Group, IUCN Species Survival Commission, Gland, Switzerland.

Newell, G.R. 1999. Australia’s tree-kangaroos: current issues in their conservation. Biological Conservation 87: 1-12.

Newell, G.R. 1999. Home range and habitat use by Lumholtz’s Tree-kangaroo (Dendrolagus lumholtzi) within a rainforest fragment in north Queensland. Wildlife Research 26: 129-145.

Newell, G.R. 1999. Responses of Lumholtz’s Tree-kangaroo (Dendrolagus lumholtzi) to loss of habitat within a tropical rainforest fragment. Biological Conservation 91: 181-189.

Williams, S.E., Bolitho, E.E. and Fox, S. 2003. Climate change in Australian tropical rainforests: an impending environmental catastrophe. Proceedings of the Royal Society 270: 1887-1892.

Winter, J. W. 2004. Forest mammals of northern Queensland: is their conservation status improving? In: D. Lunney (ed.), Conservation of Australia’s forest fauna, pp. 435-451. Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales, Mosman, NSW.

Woinarski, J.C.Z., Burbidge, A.A. and Harrison, P.L. 2014. The Action Plan for Australian Mammals 2012. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood.

Citation: Woinarski, J. & Burbidge, A.A. 2016. Dendrolagus lumholtzi. In: . The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T6432A21957815. . Downloaded on 20 September 2018.
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