Eastern long-nosed echidna (Zaglossus bartoni)
The eastern long-nosed echidna is widespread throughout the central mountains of New Guinea, the Foja Mountains (Indonesia) and the Huon Peninsula (Papua New Guinea). It has a very patchy distribution and is probably now extirpated from most of its range (specimens are very common in the fossil record). Historically, it has been recorded from sea level to around 4,150 m above sea level, but is rarely found at sea level now. It ranges from tropical hill forests to sub-alpine forests, grasslands and scrub and occurs in secondary habitats.
It feeds mainly on worms and It has a large altitudinal range. This species lays eggs and the primary food is worms. It can have large home ranges, as evidenced by a recorded home range of about 198 ha over a two month period (D. Wright pers. comm.). Is a long-lived species; there is a record of an animal from the London Zoo which lived for thirty years.
Red List Category
Listed as Critically Endangered due to a suspected continuing population decline of at least 80% over the last three generations (i.e., the last 45-50 years) based on direct observation in parts of its range, declines in area of occupancy (reports from hunters), and actual levels of exploitation due to hunting.
The species has been hunted to local extinction in the densely populated and accessible regions of New Guinea. It may be more common in inaccessible areas. Tim Flannery (pers. comm.) says that the subpopulations in the western half (mainly the central mountains of Papua, Indonesia) have largely gone extinct, but some in the east (Papua New Guinea) appear to be more secure.
It is heavily threatened by hunting for food by local people (a prime prey species), and also by loss of habitat through conversion of suitable areas to cultivated land. A nickel mine has been proposed in the Wowo Gap area (in the next 10-15 years), which is an area that appears to support a good population of this species (L. Seri pers. comm.). The major populations are now largely confined to the higher reaches of the central massifs.
This species is listed on Appendix II of CITES. It has been recorded from some protected areas. Hunting regulations are needed to protect this species. Further field studies to identify important areas for this species are needed. The taxonomy of this species should be reviewed.
The eastern long-beaked echidna (Zaglossus bartoni), also known as Barton's long-beaked echidna, is one of three species from the genus Zaglossus to occur in New Guinea. It is found mainly in Papua New Guinea at elevations between 2,000 and 3,000 metres (6,600 and 9,800 ft).
It can be distinguished from other members of the genus by the number of claws on the fore and hind feet: it has five claws on its fore feet and four on its hind feet. Its weight varies from 5 to 10 kilograms (11 to 22 lb); its body length ranges from 60 to 100 centimetres (24 to 39 in); it has no tail. It has dense black fur. The species is the largest monotreme and is slow-moving. It rolls into a spiny ball for defence.
There are four recognised subspecies:
•Z. bartoni bartoni
•Z. bartoni clunius
•Z. bartoni smeenki
•Z. bartoni diamondi
The population of each subspecies is geographically isolated. The subspecies are distinguished primarily by differences in body size.
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