- A truffle-eating Australian marsupial known as the rat kangaroo has suffered a dramatic population decline and could become extinct without urgent action to save the species
- The World Wildlife Fund said only two populations of the northern bettong remained in the wet coastal tropics of northern Queensland state, numbering at most 2,500 individuals, down 70% in the past 30 years.
- The nocturnal, rabbit-sized bettongs are at risk from feral cats, land-clearing and wildfires, which have become more frequent and fierce in Queensland due to climate change.
- It was critical to establish an “insurance population” of the northern bettong, protected from pests and fire, and consider raising the species’ status from “endangered” to “critically endangered”.
- The northern bettong is one of the main animals which eat truffles, dispersing truffle spores across its habitat and maintaining a delicate ecological balance.
- It plays a really unique role in maintaining ecological function in the vegetation.
- So if we lose it — and other species like it — we could be looking at ecological collapse.
Home Current Affairs Environment Extinction warning for Australia’s ‘rat kangaroo’