22 January 2011
Northern Hairy Nosed Wombat (Lasiorhinus krefftii), Critically Endangered
This cute-ish animal is critically endangered. Endemic to Australia, it's range has steadily decreased, until in the early 80s, there were only 30-40 individuals in tiny Epping National Forest Park, about 800 km northwest of Brisbane. In 1982, Cattle were excluded from their habitat, and their population has risen to over 130.
In May of 2009, a number of Wombats were moved from Epping to a newly created nature reserve, just north of St. George, providing some protection for the species. The biggest threat to the species is a catastrophe such as fire, flood, drought, or disease, that could wipe out the entire population. Having two separate populations is a bit of a disaster insurance policy.
This largest of Wombat species, also sometimes referred to as the Yaminon, is now protected in both locations by predator proof fences to keep out dingos and other predators. Conservationists managing these populations engage in reproductive and behavioural research, as well as controlling invasive species of grass, controlled burns of habitat, DNA studies to estimate population (by collecting hair samples with tape), and much more.
If you want to help out this nearly extinct animal, here's some ideas:
You could of course donate to the Wombat Foundation.
Or you could buy some children's books featuring Willit the Amazing Wombat.
Most importantly and least expensively though, you could learn more about the Northern Hairy Nosed Wombat, and then tell your friends.
Here are some very informative sites:
From the Queensland Government.
From Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered (EDGE).
From the Wombat Foundation.