The mystery of the Top End’s vanishing wildlife

12 August 2020

Only a few decades ago, encountering a bandicoot or quoll around your campsite in the evening was a common and delightful experience across the Top End. Now sadly rare and the cause of the widespread mammal declines has long been unknown.

Finally, a major study across 300 sites in the Top End by the Northern Territory Government has revealed causes and points to solutions. The most important driver of the loss is habitat degradation by feral livestock (buffaloes, horses, cattle and donkeys) and too hot, extensive and frequent fire.

 

buffalo photo

By degrading habitat (eg less dense grasses and shrubs) feral livestock and too much fire remove important food and shelter for native animals and make them more vulnerable to cats and dingoes. It’s crucial we start managing habitat better, before we lose more of our precious mammal species.

The research was supported by the Australian Government’s National Environmental Science Program and Charles Darwin University.

You can read more about the study here, and find more project info here.

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