Tuesday , August 3 2021

Furry mammals are most at risk of foxes, cats

Potoroos, rock-rats and fans have earned the dubious honors of a list of Aussie mammals, most at risk of being wiped out by feral cats and foxes.

A team of more than 20 scientists drew up a list of non-flying mammals, most vulnerable to the predators of conservationists who could better target their efforts to save them from extinction.

"We found that 63 or about one in three surviving mammal species are highly susceptible to predation by cats and foxes," Latrobe University's Dr. Jim Radford said.

"Our study shows that introduced predators remain a significant threat to numerous mammals, many of which are clinging to survival by a thread."

The critically endangered Gilbert's potoroo and central rock rat topped the list of mammals most susceptible to foxes and feral cats.

The endangered Eastern quoll and Western Barred bandicoot were also high on the list.

The risk factors for recovering in terms of their population hinges on effective control of their greatest threats.

They are said to be moved to predator-free areas, a further 51 species considered as being helped by measures including predator-free enclosures.

Dr. Radford has already played a leading role in at least 25 mammal extinctions.

"Knowing which species are most at risk will help us prioritize where cat and fox control is most needed," he said.

The findings were published in Wildlife Research journal on Wednesday.


* Gilbert's Potoroo Potorous gilbertii (critically endangered)

* Central Rock-rat Zyzomys pedunculatus (critically endangered)

* Eastern Quoll Dasyurus viverrinus (endangered)

* Western Barred Bandicoot Perameles bougainville (endangered)

* Eastern Barred Bandicoot Perameles Gunnii (endangered on mainland Australia)

* Rufous Hare-wallaby or Mala Lagorchestes hirsutus (endangered on mainland Australia)

* Banded Hare-wallaby Lagostrophus fasciatus (vulnerable)

* Djoongari or Shark Bay Mouse Pseudomys fieldi (vulnerable)

* Boodie or Burrowing Bettong Bettongia lesueur (vulnerable)

* Greater Stick-nest Rat Leporillus conditor (vulnerable)

* Tasmanian Pademelon Thylogale billardierii (extinct on mainland, surviving in Tasmania)

* Eastern Bettong Bettongia gaimardi (extinct on mainland, surviving in Tasmania)

Source: Threatened Species Recovery Hub

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