Zaglossus bruijnii 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Monotremata Tachyglossidae

Scientific Name: Zaglossus bruijnii (Peters & Doria, 1876)
Common Name(s):
English Western Long-beaked Echidna, Long-beaked Echidna, Long-nosed Echidna, Long-nosed Spiny Anteater, New Guinea Long-nosed Echidna
French Echidné À Bec Courbe, Echidné À Nez Long, Echidné De Nouvelle-guinée
Spanish Echidnos Narilargos, Equidna De Nueva Guinea
Zaglossus bruijni (Peters & Doria, 1876) [orth. error]
Taxonomic Notes: This species is often listed as Zaglossus bruijni, but the correct spelling is Z. bruijnii (K. Helgen pers. comm. 2008). The distinctiveness of Z. bruijnii from Z. bartoni of the central portion of New Guinea is confirmed by unpublished genetic and morphological studies (K. Helgen per. comm. 2015).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered A2acd ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2015-07-24
Assessor(s): Leary, T., Seri, L., Flannery, T., Wright, D., Hamilton, S., Helgen, K., Singadan, R., Menzies, J., Allison, A., James, R., Aplin, K., Salas, L. & Dickman, C.
Reviewer(s): Pacifici, M.
Listed as Critically Endangered due to a suspected continuing population decline of at least 80% over the last three generations (i.e., the last 45-50 years) based on direct observation in parts of its range, declines in area of occupancy (based on reports from hunters), and actual levels of exploitation due to hunting. We have very little reliable knowledge of population status and trend for this species, but there is cause for serious concern because of ongoing threats due to transmigration, forestry activity and resource development within its geographic range, which is evidently small.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is recorded only from the Vogelkop Peninsula region of Papua Province, Indonesia and the adjacent landbridge island of Salawati. It is possible that the species may be present on the oceanic islands of Batanta and Waigeo (both Indonesia – not mapped) (Flannery 1995a,b; Helgen 2007). It has been recorded across a broad elevational range, from near sea level to 2,500 m a.s.l.

Helgen et al. (2012) reported on a previously overlooked specimen collected in the Kimberley region of northwestern Australia in 1901. This specimen suggests that the distribution of the species extended into northwestern Australia where it persisted as a rare species until the early twentieth century.
Countries occurrence:
Indonesia (Papua)
Possibly extinct:
Australia (Western Australia)
Additional data:
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):No
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):UnknownExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Continuing decline in number of locations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:No
Upper elevation limit (metres):2500
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:This species has not been definitely recorded since the 1980s. A Meybrat informant (Elimas Kambuaya) interviewed at Ayamaru (c. 350 m a.s.l.) in 1995 claimed that Zaglossus "lives in the surroundings of Mapura/Suwiam and between Mapura/Suwai and Kokas (a village close to Ajawasi) and around Ajawasi. It is rare on the other side of the lake (Ayamaru, Kartapura/Men, Kambuaya)" (Pasveer 2004: Appendix 3).

Although it is uncertain whether these statements referred to a strictly contemporary situation, it is noted that the Ayamura Plateau is a rugged karst plateau with low human population density and large areas of relatively undisturbed forest. The regional occurrence of Z. bruijnii on the Ayamaru Plateau into late prehistoric times is confirmed archaeologically (Pasveer 2004).

There is little certainty over whether the species is currently decreasing. This depends on whether areas of formerly remote habitat on the Vogelkop are being opened up and if so whether this is resulting in the incursion of hunters. If the intensity of hunting is decreasing in areas such as the Ayamaru Plateau, populations might be increasing locally.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No
Continuing decline in subpopulations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species ranges from tropical hill forests to upper montane forests. It has a large altitudinal range and occurs across multiple landforms including rugged karst terrain. The ecology of Z. bruijnii is presumably broadly similar to other species of Zaglossus, but nothing is known about this species in particular.

The life history of long-beaked echidnas is unknown but is probably similar to that of the short-beaked echidna Tachyglossus aculeatus (Augee et al. 2006), which rears a single young at a time, has a long weaning period (approx 7 months) and slow sexual maturation. This low reproductive potential is compensated by a long lifespan.
Generation Length (years):16

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): All long-beaked echidnas Zaglossus are highly susceptible to human predation with the use of trained hunting dogs able to detect and follow the animals to their daytime retreats, even in densely forested habitat. Except with the aid of dogs, long-beaked echidnas are extremely difficult to locate as they occur at naturally low densities and are nocturnal.

Habitat degradation and conversion may be significant, but given the ecological breadth displayed by long-beaked echidnas, habitat changes are unlikely to be important as primary threats. However, they probably increase the likelihood of detection and predation, and there is a clear correlation between habitat conversion or degradation and regional extinction of other species of Zaglossus.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is listed on Appendix II of CITES. It has been recorded from at least one nature reserve (Pegunungan Arfak Nature Reserve). Hunting regulations may be needed to protect certain populations. Further field studies are needed to determine the current distribution and status of the species and to identify important populations for its long-term conservation.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.6. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
1. Forest -> 1.9. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Montane
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
1. Land/water protection -> 1.1. Site/area protection
1. Land/water protection -> 1.2. Resource & habitat protection
3. Species management -> 3.1. Species management -> 3.1.1. Harvest management
4. Education & awareness -> 4.3. Awareness & communications

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
  Action Recovery plan:No
  Systematic monitoring scheme:No
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over part of range
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
  Invasive species control or prevention:No
In-Place Species Management
  Harvest management plan:No
  Successfully reintroduced or introduced beningly:No
  Subject to ex-situ conservation:No
In-Place Education
  Subject to recent education and awareness programmes:No
  Included in international legislation:Yes
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:Yes
2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.2. Small-holder farming
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Majority (50-90%) ♦ severity:Slow, Significant Declines ⇒ Impact score:Medium Impact: 6 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

5. Biological resource use -> 5.1. Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals -> 5.1.1. Intentional use (species is the target)
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Majority (50-90%) ♦ severity:Rapid Declines ⇒ Impact score:Medium Impact: 7 
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

Bibliography [top]

Augee, M. L., Gooden, B. and Musser, A. 2006. Echidna: extraordinary eg-laying mammal. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne.

Flannery, T.F. 1995. Mammals of the South-West Pacific and Moluccan Islands. Comstock/Cornell, Ithaca, Ny, USA.

Flannery, T.F. 1995. The Mammals of New Guinea, 2nd edition. Reed Books, Sydney, Australia.

Flannery, T. F. and Groves, C. P. 1988. A revision of the genus Zaglossus (Monotremata, Tachyglossidae), with description of new species and subspecies. Mammalia 62: 367-396.

Helgen, K. M. 2007. A Taxonomic and Geographic Overview of the Mammals of Papua. In: A. J. Marshall and B. M. Beehler (eds), The Ecology of Papua, pp. 689-749. Periplus Editions, Singapore.

Helgen, K. M., Miguez, R. P., Kohen, J. L. and Helgen, L. E. 2012. Twentieth century occurrence of the Long-Beaked Echidna Zaglossus bruijnii in the Kimberley region of Australia. ZooKeys 255: 103-132.

IUCN. 2016. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2016-2. Available at: (Accessed: 04 September 2016).

Pacifici, M., Santini, L., Di Marco, M., Baisero, D., Francucci, L., Grottolo Marasini, G., Visconti, P. and Rondinini, C. 2013. Generation length for mammals. Nature Conservation 5: 87–94.

Pasveer, J. 2004. The Djief Hunters. 26,000 years of rainforest exploitation on the Bird’s Head of Papua, Indonesia. A. A. Balkema, Leiden.

Citation: Leary, T., Seri, L., Flannery, T., Wright, D., Hamilton, S., Helgen, K., Singadan, R., Menzies, J., Allison, A., James, R., Aplin, K., Salas, L. & Dickman, C. 2016. Zaglossus bruijnii. In: . The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T23179A21964204. . Downloaded on 20 September 2018.
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