Endangered Australian Species Series - The Northern Hairy-nosed Wombat 📽 📽 📽
Updated: Apr 4, 2018
Australia is home to some of the most endangered mammals. One of them is the northern hairy-nosed Wombat - the largest herbivorous burrowing mammal in the world. They are now counted at 250 animals from a low point of only 35; it is still an alarming small number. They are listed as a “critically endangered” species.
(Wikimedia commons - www.doctorramey.com)
Currently, the northern hairy-nosed Wombat lives at two sites that are both in Queensland/Australia (Epping Forest National Park and the Richard Underwood Nature Refuge).
📽 (0:12) Watch the drone vision of a wombat refuge:
This type of wombat is shy, elusive and mostly nocturnal, which means it remains something of a mystery even to the wildlife officers and volunteers working to bring it back from the brink of extinction. Despite their clumsy appearance the wombat can reach an impressive speed of 40km/h over a short distance. Their average lifespan is about 20 years. Generally between November and April the females give birth to one joey at the time. Joeys stay in the pouch for six to nine months before they leave, around the age of one year search for food themselves. Wombats will dwell in more than one burrow, which are shared - especially between females.
Night vision footage of mother and joey, at the Richard Underwood Nature Refuge. This little joey is the first endangered northern hairy-nosed wombat born at the nature refuge in five years. (2017) Creative Commons Attribution license (reuse allowed)
Previously, the main threat to the northern hairy-nosed wombat was food shortage due to overgrazing by livestock. The effects of drought, floods, wildfires and predation by dingoes may also have contributed to the species' demise.
The image above shows the historical range of the northern hairy-nosed Wombat in comparison to its range today (Treby 2005).
Recovery plans for the species have been in place since 1992. The 2004-2008 Northern Hairy-Nosed Wombat Recovery Plan had ambitious goals which were broken down into five, 10 and 50-year plans to ensure the sustainability of the species.
Dear Reader, please check the Queensland Government official site for further detailed information regarding the northern hairy-nosed wombat, their recovery and future programmes in place: https://www.ehp.qld.gov.au/wildlife/threatened-species/endangered/northern_hairynosed_wombat/#recovery_actions
A wombat in his typical setting (Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP)
Northern hairy-nosed wombat burrow
With the Epping Forest population increasing, and a second population becoming established at the Richard Underwood Reserve, the Northern Hairy-nosed Wombat seems on the road to recovery. The Richard Underwood refuge is small (only 130 hectares) and the search is now on for a place to establish a third and larger population.
So there is hope: when that is done - after many decades of hard work - the conservationists involved in this important project might be able to say that the Northern Hairy-nosed Wombat is safe from extinction. They need all the help they can get.
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📽 (1:31) Northern hairy-nosed wombat (Lasiorhinus krefftii) - OVERVIEW
ABC Natural History Unit, Australia (viewed 08/02/2018)
ABC News Australia, 2017 (viewed 08/02/2018)
Queensland Government - Department of Environment and Heritage, 2018 (viewed 08/02/2018)
The Wombat Foundation, 2018 (viewed 08/02/2018)
Wikipedia (viewed 08/02/2018)