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'Extinct' mammal found alive in Australia

Posted on Saturday, 16 December, 2017 | Comment icon 7 comments

Finding a live crest-tailed mulgara came as something of a surprise. Image Credit: PD - Joseph Smit
The crest-tailed mulgara - a small carnivorous marsupial - was thought to have died out a century ago.
At a time when species are disappearing from our planet on a regular basis, the news that this particular variety of mulgara has survived against all odds is particularly welcome.

It was discovered by a team from the University of New South Wales in Sturt National Park.

"The crest-tailed mulgara was once widely distributed across sandy desert environments in inland Australia, but declined due to the effects of rabbits, cats and foxes," said Dr Rebecca West.

"The species weighs around 150 grams and has pale blonde fur and a thick tail with a distinctive black crest."

The discovery is particularly timely as scientists with the Wild Deserts project are planning to remove several types of predator from the region to help support the return of native mammal species.

"The aim of this project is to return mammal species not seen in their natural habitat for over 90 years in Sturt National Park," said National Parks and Wildlife Service area manager Jaymie Norris.

"Rabbits, cats and foxes will be eradicated from two 20-square-kilometre fenced exclosures in Sturt National Park, before locally extinct mammals are reintroduced."

Source: | Comments (7)

Tags: Mulgara, Australia

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by papageorge1 on 16 December, 2017, 16:20
Can the Tasmanian Tiger be next?
Comment icon #2 Posted by oldrover on 16 December, 2017, 16:26
This is lovely, and I'm struck by just how much this animal in the photo resembles a quoll, one of my favourite animals and which can be seen at the moment in Bristol Zoo, but, this isn't quite the story it seems. The animal wasn't thought to be extinct, it's just that there's been no previous contemporary record in this part of its historic range before now. But still it's great news. The only sad part about this is that I know I'll be reading comments about the thylacine after this for a few weeks.
Comment icon #3 Posted by oldrover on 16 December, 2017, 16:27
I knew it. No, the thylacine is extinct.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Boozemonkey on 16 December, 2017, 22:32
Hope springs eternal...
Comment icon #5 Posted by DieChecker on 17 December, 2017, 18:27
20 square kilometers doesn't seem like much. That's only like 4.5 kilometers on a side. I guess it would be a good proof of theory, if such clearing out of placental mammals will allow the marsupials to rebound.
Comment icon #6 Posted by Myles on 18 December, 2017, 12:21
I thought the same. It'll have to be quite the fence to keep rabbits and foxes out. Maybe a wall. I heard Mexico will fund it.
Comment icon #7 Posted by DieChecker on 22 December, 2017, 8:42
In Australia, I hear it is the Indonesians who need to be kept out. Perhaps the fenced areas will go way underground with the fence? We had rabbits and deer getting in our garden and we had to go 4 feet down and 8 feet up, to keep them out.

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