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Zaglossus attenboroughi 

Scope: Global
Status_ne_offStatus_dd_offStatus_lc_offStatus_nt_offStatus_vu_offStatus_en_offStatus_cr_onStatus_ew_offStatus_ex_off

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Monotremata Tachyglossidae

Scientific Name: Zaglossus attenboroughi
Species Authority: Flannery & Groves, 1998
Common Name(s):
English Sir David's Long-beaked Echidna, Cyclops Long-beaked Echidna, Attenborough's Echidna
Taxonomic Notes: The distinction of Z. attenboroughi from Z. bartoni of the central portion of New Guinea is not clearly supported by genetic analysis conducted to date (K. Helgen per. comm. 2015), but further work is underway to resolve this.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered B1ab(iii,v)+2ab(iii,v) 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.
Justification:
Listed as Critically Endangered because its extent of occurrence is less than 20 km2, all individuals are in a single location, there is probably ongoing decline in the extent and quality of its habitat, and a likely decline in the number of mature individuals due to ongoing hunting. In the event that Z. attenboroughi is reassessed as a local phenotypic variant of Z. bartoni, the degree of isolation and morphological distinctiveness of this population would warrant its protection at the highest level.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is known from one specimen collected in 1961 at 1,600 m a.s.l., from a single mountain of Berg Rara in the Cyclops Mountains in extreme northern Papua Province, Indonesia. It has not been located, and is stated by landowners to be absent, in the adjacent mountain ranges of Torricelli and Bewani Ranges to the east. A formerly more extensive range is suggested by late Pleistocene fossil records of a small-bodied Zaglossus from the Oenake Range, a coastal outlier of the Bewani range (K. Aplin pers. comm. 2015). An expedition to the Cyclops Mountains in May 2007 found evidence of echidna activity (recent digging activity and burrows), and there was local knowledge of the species that implied its continued existence there, although no echidna was sighted (Baillie et al. 2009). This expedition concluded that the species may occur at lower elevations than previously thought, from 166 to 1,600 m.
Countries occurrence:
Native:
Indonesia
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:0-20Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:0-20
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):UnknownExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Number of Locations:1
Lower elevation limit (metres):166
Upper elevation limit (metres):1600
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:This species has not been recorded since 1961. An expedition to the Cyclops Mountains in May 2007 found evidence of the species (recent digging activity and burrows), and there was local knowledge of the species that implied its continued existence there. It is thought to have been distributed more widely in the late Quaternary. It is a large animal that probably occurred at low density and would not have existed in such a small area naturally.
The status of the one recorded population is unknown, but is likely to be decreasing and with limited scope for recovery unless hunting in the Cyclops Range is regulated.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Continuing 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:Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The species is found in tropical montane forest, probably from lowland to montane elevations. Nothing specific is known of its ecology; presumably, it is broadly similar to other species of Zaglossus.

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.
Systems:Terrestrial
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes
Generation Length (years):5658

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.
Hunting by local people in the Cyclops Range continues to be a major threat. The habitat for this species is also being degraded by logging and by expansion of small-scale agriculture.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is listed on Appendix II of CITES. The area from which the single specimen was collected has been declared a reserve (Flannery and Groves 1998). There is a need to enforce the protection of this area and conduct additional surveys in suitable habitat for remaining populations on Berg Rara. Further research is needed into the natural history of the species and into conservation measures to protect it.

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
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management
3. Species management -> 3.2. Species recovery
4. Education & awareness -> 4.3. Awareness & communications

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
  Included in international legislation:Yes
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:Yes
1. Residential & commercial development -> 1.1. Housing & urban areas
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.2. Small-holder farming
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ 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    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
1. Research -> 1.5. Threats
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

Bibliography [top]

Augee, M. L. 2008. Short-beaked Echidna, Tachyglossus aculeatus. In: S. Van Dyck and R. Strahan (eds), The mammals of Australia. Third Edition, pp. 37-39. Reed New Holland, Sydney, Australia.

Baillie, J. E. M., Turvey, S. T. and Waterman, C. 2009. Survival of Attenborough’s long-beaked echidna Zaglossus attenboroughi in New Guinea. Oryx 43: 146-148.

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.

IUCN. 2016. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2016-2. Available at: www.iucnredlist.org. (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.


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 attenboroughi. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T136322A21964353. . Downloaded on 27 September 2016.
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