Overview

Brief Summary

Biology

Primarily a solitary species, the western barred bandicoot tends to occupy a nest alone. The nest is constructed in a scrape and is lined with leaves (5). The entrance is concealed from predators and this nocturnal animal will spend the day sleeping in it (3). Usually individuals will fight when they encounter others, but occasionally two bandicoots are seen to nest together (2). Mating occurs in autumn and winter and just 12 days later a litter of between one and three tiny young is born (3). This is one of the shortest gestation periods of any mammal. Western barred bandicoots will breed opportunistically at other times of year if conditions are suitable. The young remain in the pouch to suckle and develop further for 45 – 60 days, and by 80 days they disperse (6). This species is omnivorous and will find insects, seeds, roots, herbs and small invertebrates by digging (3).
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Description

This small marsupial has light brown-grey fur fading to white fur on the belly, as well as on the feet. It gained its common name as a result of two or three bars of alternating paler and darker bars across the hindquarters. As with all bandicoots, the ears are large and the snout is long and pointed (5). The tail is also long, making up almost a third of the total length of the western barred bandicoot (2). The pouch faces backwards as this prevents dirt from entering when this bandicoot is digging (3).
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Distribution

Range Description

The Western Barred Bandicoot is endemic to Australia, where it occurs naturally on Bernier and Dorre Islands in Shark Bay, Western Australia (Friend 2008). This species formerly ranged over much of southern Australia. There are reintroduced populations in Shark Bay (Heirisson Prong and Faure Island) and Arid Recovery Reserve at Roxby Downs, South Australia.
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Historic Range:
Australia

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Range

Having inhabited much of southern and western Australia, the western barred bandicoot has now lost most of its previous range, and is restricted to just Bernier and Dorre Islands off the western coast of Australia. The species was thought to have gone extinct, but the populations of these two islands were discovered in the 1970s (3).
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Vegetation types occupied on Bernier and Dorre Islands include Triodia grasslands and scrub communities on vegetated dunes, and on sandplains, although the species is particularly abundant in sandhills behind beaches. On the mainland, this species was recorded from semi-arid areas with a variety of vegetation types, including scrub, open bluebush and saltbush plains and stony hills (Friend 2008). Females give birth to between one and three young, and can have up to four litters per year (Richards 2004).

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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In its former range, the western barred bandicoot occupied semi-arid and arid areas on plains and sand ridges with woodlands, as well as open bush plains, dense scrub and heathland. Now, the preferred habitat appears to be sand hills, grasslands and scrublands (3).
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Life History and Behavior

Life Expectancy

Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Maximum longevity: 5.8 years (captivity)
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
EN
Endangered

Red List Criteria
B1ac(iv)+2ac(iv)

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2008

Assessor/s
Friend, T. & Richards, J.

Reviewer/s
Lamoreux, J. & Hilton-Taylor, C. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)

Contributor/s

Justification
Listed as Endangered because it has an extent of occurrence of less than 5,000 km2, an area of occupancy of less than 500 km2, all individuals are known from 5 locations, and there are extreme fluctuations in the population in response to rainfall. With all but one of the locations for the species in Shark Bay, the probability that fluctuations could be synchronous can not be ignored. Additional potential threats that are major include: the accidental introduction of predators (introduced cats and foxes), extensive fire, and disease. Currently the overall population of this species is considered stable and they may even be increasing as a result of reintroductions.

History
  • 1996
    Endangered
  • 1994
    Endangered
    (Groombridge 1994)
  • 1990
    Rare
    (IUCN 1990)
  • 1988
    Rare
    (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1988)
  • 1986
    Rare
    (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1986)
  • 1982
    Rare
    (Thornback and Jenkins 1982)
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Current Listing Status Summary

Status: Endangered
Date Listed: 12/02/1970
Lead Region: Foreign (Region 10) 
Where Listed: Entire


Population detail:

Population location: Entire
Listing status: E

For most current information and documents related to the conservation status and management of Perameles bougainville , see its USFWS Species Profile

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Status

The western barred bandicoot is classified as Endangered (EN B1 + 3a) on the IUCN Red List 2004 (1), and is listed on Appendix I of CITES (4).
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Population

Population
The population size fluctuates with rainfall. The overall population is under 10,000 mature individuals. There are perhaps about 5,000 in total on Bernier and Dorre Islands, where the species is considered abundant (Friend 2008). The population appears to be stable on the two islands. There are over 200 individuals in Heirisson Prong, over 20 on Faure Island, and about 40 in Arid Recovery. There is also a captive colony at Return to Dryandra Field Breeding Facility, and a small number of animals are held at Kanyana Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre (Richards 2005).

Population Trend
Stable
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Threats

Major Threats
The current major threats to the natural populations of the species include: the accidental introduction of predators (introduced cats and foxes), fire, and disease (Richards 2005). These same threats apply to varying degrees to the reintroduced populations. Extreme fluctuations in populations on islands are a threat, but this threat is seen as minor relative to the risk exotic predators being introduced (Short et al. 1997). With weather events becoming ever more unpredictable and all but one location for the species being located in Shark Bay, these fluctuations are still cause for concern. Introduced rats and mice are also a concern, but to a lesser degree than introduced predators.

This species probably declined through predation by introduced cats, dogs, and foxes, modification of vegetation by rabbits and stock, and possibly changed fire regimes in parts of the range (Maxwell et al. 1996). Pathogens are a problem in Bernier Island (they seem to be endemic in the population, though discovered recently); the impact of these diseases on the population size is unknown and needs to be studied. The pathogens are also found within captive colonies.
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The massive decline suffered by this species is mainly a result of predation by introduced foxes and feral cats, as well as competition from introduced livestock and rabbits. Habitat clearance and human influence over fire regimes has also contributed (1) (3).
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
This species is listed as a threatened species under Australian law. Bernier and Dorre Islands are both protected areas, as are all the areas where the species has been reintroduced. Further studies are needed on the impact of pathogens on Bernier Island. Regular monitoring of populations is needed (annually or biannually). It is listed on CITES Appendix I.

A recovery plan for the species has been developed for the 2005-2010 period (Richards 2005). Recommendations in this plan include: protect wild populations and their habitat so that the species does not fall below the level of natural fluctuations; maintain captive populations; use of population viability analysis to compare the viability of wild, current and potential reintroduced populations, and; enhance community participation and education. The recovery plan also recommends initiating three reintroductions to the mainland within a five year period (2005-2010) (Richards 2005). Some of these, like the reintroduction to Arid Recovery, should be established "in different regions where climatic fluctuations may be out of synchrony" (Short et al. 1997).
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Conservation

The Department of Conservation and Land Management, in collaboration with Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation Australia are working to study this species and have undertaken captive breeding programs and begin a re-introduction program in an area of the mainland where introduced predators have been drastically reduced under an eradication program. More introductions are planned, dependent on continued progress in predator eradication (2) (6).
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Wikipedia

Western barred bandicoot

The western barred bandicoot (Perameles bougainville), also known as the marl, is a small species of bandicoot found in Australia. It was once widespread across southern Australia from Western Australia to central New South Wales, but it is now found on Bernier, Dorre and Faure islands in Shark Bay, Western Australia,[3][4] and in captive populations on the mainland including at Barna Mia in Dryandra Woodland.[5]

The western barred bandicoot is much smaller than its relative the eastern barred bandicoot (Perameles gunnii), and is darker in its colouring, which is a grizzled brown. It measures about 1.5 feet (46 cm) in length.[6] It has two "bars" across its rump and has a short, tapered tail.[6] It is a solitary and crepuscular hunter, eating insects, spiders, and worms and occasionally tubers and roots.[6] When the bandicoot feels threatened, it typically leaps into the air and then burrows to safety.[6]

This species is currently being re-introduced to nearby mainland areas of Western Australia, where predators such as the red fox are the subject of control programs.[3] It has also been successfully reintroduced into the Arid Recovery Reserve at Roxby Downs in South Australia.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Groves, C. P. (2005). "Order Peramelemorphia". In Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 39. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494. 
  2. ^ Friend, T. & Richards, J. (2008). Perameles bougainville. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 28 December 2008. Database entry includes justification for why this species is listed as endangered
  3. ^ a b Menkhorst, Peter (2001). A Field Guide to the Mammals of Australia. Oxford University Press. p. 78. ISBN 9780195508703. 
  4. ^ Flannery, Tim (2005). Country: a continent, a scientist & a kangaroo. ISBN 1-920885-76-5. 
  5. ^ http://www.dec.wa.gov.au/parks-and-recreation/key-attractions/dryandra-woodland/barna-mia-animal-sanctuary.html
  6. ^ a b c d Ellis, Richard (2004). No Turning Back: The Life and Death of Animal Species. New York: Harper Perennial. p. 226. ISBN 0-06-055804-0. 
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