Lasiorhinus latifrons 

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Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Diprotodontia Vombatidae

Scientific Name: Lasiorhinus latifrons (Owen, 1845)
Common Name(s):
English Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat
French Wombat à narines poilues du Sud
Phascolomys latifrons Owen, 1845

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2014-05-04
Assessor(s): Woinarski, J. & Burbidge, A.A.
Reviewer(s): Hawkins, C.
Contributor(s): Robinson, A., Copley, P., Dickman, C., Taylor, A. & Hayward, M.
The Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat has declined historically in population size, number of subpopulations and area of occupancy. Many subpopulations are now isolated and may be non-viable. It faces a wide range of threats. There is limited information on population trends (particularly for the largest subpopulations, in the Nullarbor area), but estimates for some subpopulations (e.g. of 70% decline in the Murray Lands, South Australia from 2002 to 2008: Taggart and Robinson 2008) suggest that it may approach an overall population decline threshold of 30% over three generations (27-36 years), currently and in the future. Hence it is listed as Near Threatened as it almost qualifies for a threatened listing under criterion A2b.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat is endemic to Australia. It occurs in semi-arid areas from southern New South Wales to south-eastern Western Australia (the Nullarbor Plain area). It is now patchily distributed across this extensive range. Important (but not necessarily large) subpopulations include the Nullarbor Plain, Gawler Range, the Murray Lands, Yorke and Eyre Peninsulas (South Australia), and near Wentworth (New South Wales) (Ayers et al. 1996; Taggart and Robinson 2008). In New South Wales, the current distribution is restricted to two sites (NSW Scientific Committee 1997); and it has recently been recorded from one site in far north-western Victoria (Ned’s Corner, a Trust for Nature Victoria sanctuary).
Countries occurrence:
Australia (New South Wales, South Australia, Western Australia)
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:1076-200000,50000-100000Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:222735
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):UnknownExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Continuing decline in number of locations:Unknown
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]


Taggart and Robinson (2008) provided the most comprehensive assessments of population size, noting estimates of 50,000 to 100,000 individuals in the South Australia portion of the Nullarbor Plain; no population estimates for the small Western Australia portion of the Nullarbor Plain; 10,000 - 15,000 individuals in the Murray Lands (with the population size in that area having declined by about 70% since 2002, probably due to drought and sarcoptic mange); and far smaller subpopulations scattered across the Yorke (including about 200 individuals at Urania) and Eyre Peninsulas (including about 100 individuals at Wool Bay, about 400 individuals at Port Victoria, about 50 - 100 on Kadina, about 3,000 individuals at Elliston, and about 100 at Small Kellidie); 100 - 1,000 around Lake Everard; and about 10,000 in the Gawler Ranges (but this estimate is about 25 years old). A more recent comprehensive survey of the Yorke Peninsula reported 2523 active wombat burrows, and used a conversion factor (0.43 wombats per active burrow) to estimate a total population on Yorke Peninsula of 696 wombats, spread over 25 colonies, with only three of those colonies having >100 individuals (Urania with 272, Kulpara 146 and Point Pearce with 135 individuals), and 19 colonies having <10 individuals (Sparrow 2009).

 In parts of its range (e.g. Murray Lands), the Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat is considered ‘over-abundant’ and in significant conflict with farming communities (O’Brien et al. 2012); in other parts (e.g. Yorke Peninsula), subpopulations are small, few and scattered. In New South Wales it is known from two localities each with between 2 and 10 individuals (NSW Scientific Committee 1997). Sparrow (2009) noted that only the Nullarbor subpopulations were ‘secure’, with all other subpopulations ‘vulnerable’ other than the Yorke Peninsula subpopulations which were ‘endangered’.

Hogan et al. (2010) noted that the species is ‘under threat’ and that its population size is declining; however population trends have varied with rainfall patterns, and are inconsistent across its range.

Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:100000-300000, 180000Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
Continuing decline in subpopulations:Yes
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:It is found in semi-arid areas of grassland, open plains, shrublands, savanna, and open woodland. Animals live in colonies within extensive burrow systems. Each warren contains several animals (Taggart and Temple-Smith 2008). The species is long-lived (reaching more than 15 years in the wild) (Taggart and Temple-Smith 2008), and has a low rate of recruitment. Females are thought to be monogamous, and they produce a single young that lives in the pouch for six to seven months and is weaned after about a year (Taggart and Temple-Smith 2008). However, in drought years reproduction may cease and three consecutive years of ample rainfall are needed for there to be an increase in a population (Taggart and Temple-Smith 2008). Animals become sexually mature at about 3 years of age (Taggart and Temple-Smith 2008).
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Unknown
Generation Length (years):9-12
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is not used or traded, but in some areas is considered as a pest and managed to reduce population size (O'Brien et al. 2012).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Presumably the range of the Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat declined through conversion of suitable habitat to agricultural land (in the past, for part of its range, though much of the current range is in pastoral lands). It is threatened by competition for grazing by domestic stock and introduced rabbits (Taggart and Temple-Smith 2008). Sarcoptic mange is now a major threat in the Murray Lands to the east; it kills 80-90 percent of affected populations/groups (Ruykys et al. 2009; Death et al. 2011). Wells (1995) noted that the seasonal pattern of productivity of annual and non-native plants does not coincide with the weaning period of wombat young, leading to high infant mortality. Drought is another threat, especially for successful reproduction (the species needs a minimum of three years without drought to increase in number and reproduction ceases during drought years). In parts of the range, it is considered as a pest and management attempts to reduce population size (Sparrow 2009).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is found in several protected areas in South Australia. There is a need to reduce inbreeding among Yorke Peninsula populations, likely through translocation and the introduction of individuals.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.4. Forest - Temperate
2. Savanna -> 2.1. Savanna - Dry
4. Grassland -> 4.4. Grassland - Temperate
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:Yes
4. Grassland -> 4.5. Grassland - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
1. Land/water protection -> 1.1. Site/area protection
2. Land/water management -> 2.2. Invasive/problematic species control
3. Species management -> 3.1. Species management -> 3.1.1. Harvest management
3. Species management -> 3.2. Species recovery
3. Species management -> 3.3. Species re-introduction -> 3.3.1. Reintroduction

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
  Action Recovery plan:No
  Systematic monitoring scheme:Yes
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over part of range
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
  Area based regional management plan:No
  Invasive species control or prevention:No
In-Place Species Management
  Harvest management plan:Yes
  Successfully reintroduced or introduced beningly:Yes
  Subject to ex-situ conservation:No
In-Place Education
11. Climate change & severe weather -> 11.2. Droughts
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Majority (50-90%) ♦ severity:Slow, Significant Declines ⇒ Impact score:Medium Impact: 6 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.3. Agro-industry farming
♦ timing:Past, Unlikely to Return ♦ scope:Minority (<50%) ♦ severity:Unknown ⇒ Impact score:Past Impact 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.3. Livestock farming & ranching -> 2.3.3. Agro-industry grazing, ranching or farming
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Minority (<50%) ♦ severity:Slow, Significant Declines ⇒ Impact score:Low Impact: 5 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

8. Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases -> 8.1. Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases -> 8.1.1. Unspecified species
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Majority (50-90%) ♦ severity:Rapid Declines ⇒ Impact score:Medium Impact: 7 
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

8. Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases -> 8.1. Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases -> 8.1.2. Named species [ Oryctolagus cuniculus ]
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.3. Indirect species effects -> 2.3.2. Competition

1. Research -> 1.5. Threats
2. Conservation Planning -> 2.1. Species Action/Recovery Plan
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

Bibliography [top]

Ayers D., Nash S. and Baggett K. 1996. Threatened species of western New South Wales. NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service: Hurstville.

Death, C. E., Taggart, D. A., Williams, D. B., Milne, R., Schultz, D. J., Holyoake, C. and Warren, K. S. 2011. Pharmacokinetics of moxidectin in the southern hairy-nosed wombat (Lasiorhinus latifrons). Journal of Wildlife Diseases 47: 643-649.

Hogan, L., Phillips, C., Lisle, A., Horsup, A., Janssen, T. and Johnston, S. 2010. Reproductive behaviour of the southern-hairy nosed wombat (Lasiorhinus latifrons). Australian Journal of Zoology 58: 350-361.

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

New South Wales Scientific Committee. 1997. Southern hairy-nosed wombat – endangered species listing. Available at:

O’Brien, C., Taggart, D. and Sparrow, E. 2012. Utilising translocation as a management tool for southern hairy-nosed wombats (Lasiorhinus latifrons). 58th meeting of the Australian Mammal Society. Port Augusta.

Ruykys, L., Taggart, D. A., Breed, W. G. and Schultz, D. 2009. Sarcoptic mange in southern hairy-nosed wombats (Lasiorhinus latifrons): distribution and prevalence in the Murraylands of South Australia. Australian Journal of Zoology 57: 129-138.

Sparrow, E. 2009. The effect of habitat fragmentation and population isolation on the genetic diversity, reproductive status and population viability of the southern hairy-nosed wombat (Lasiorhinus latifrons) in South Australia. The University of Adelaide.

Taggart, D. A. and Temple-Smith, P. D. 2008. Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat, Lasiorhinus latifrons. In: S. Van Dyck and R. Strahan (eds), The mammals of Australia. Third Edition, pp. 204-206. Reed New Holland, Sydney, Australia.

Taggart, D., and Robinson, T. 2008. Lasiorhinus latifrons. In 'The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species'. Version 2011.2. Available at: (Accessed: 16 May 2012).

Wells, R.T. 1995. Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat Lasiorhinus latifrons. In: R. Strahan (ed.), The Mammals of Australia, pp. 20-21. Reed Books, Sydney.

Citation: Woinarski, J. & Burbidge, A.A. 2016. Lasiorhinus latifrons. In: . The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T40555A21959203. . Downloaded on 23 February 2018.
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