Long-nosed Bandicoot Perameles nasuta Geoffroy, 1804 in inner western Sydney - endangered population listing

NSW Scientific Committee - final determination

The Scientific Committee, established by the Threatened Species Conservation Act, has made a Final Determination to list a population of the Long-nosed Bandicoot Perameles nasuta Geoffroy, 1804 in inner western Sydney as an ENDANGERED POPULATION in Part 2 of Schedule 1 of the Act. Listing of endangered populations is provided for by Part 2 of the Act.

 

The Scientific Committee has found that:

 

1. The Long-nosed Bandicoot Perameles nasuta Geoffroy, 1804 (family Peramelidae) is not currently listed as an Endangered species in Part 1 of Schedule 1 or a Critically Endangered species in Part 1 of Schedule 1A and as a consequence populations of this species are eligible to be listed as Endangered Populations.

 

2. The Long-nosed Bandicoot is a medium-sized (adults: 850 to 1100 g), omnivorous, ground-dwelling marsupial (Stodart 1995). Long-nosed Bandicoots forage for invertebrates on the soil surface and for invertebrate larvae, plant roots and hypogeal fungi by digging characteristic conical holes in the soil. Foraging is preferred in areas with an open understorey (Chambers and Dickman 2002). It typically shelters during the day in one of several nests made with dry grass, twigs and leaves in a shallow depression or hidden amongst dense vegetation. Home ranges of animals at North Head Sydney cover 4.4 ± 0.8 (s.e.) ha for males and 1.7 ± 0.2 ha for females (Scott et al. 1999). Breeding is seasonal at North Head with a peak of reproductive activity in late spring and early summer, and a cessation of breeding during late autumn and early winter. Up to four litters are produced per year with a mean litter size of 2.3. Very few sub-adult animals have been captured at North Head, suggesting a high rate of juvenile mortality (Scott et al. 1999). A pattern of high reproductive output with few successful recruits into the local population is common among bandicoots, in which juveniles disperse widely in an attempt to colonise habitat away from their mother’s home range (Cockburn 1990).

 

3. The current geographic distribution of the Long-nosed Bandicoot spans the east coast of Australia from Ravenshoe in northern Queensland south to Bass Strait. In New South Wales, this species is common in a range of habitats occurring east of the Great Divide. Its former distribution also included the western slopes (Marlow 1958). Until the early 1960’s, the Long-nosed Bandicoot was common throughout the Sydney region (Marlow 1962), but increased urbanisation has caused a widespread decline in its occurrence. Currently, populations in the Sydney region occur at Royal and Heathcote National Parks and the Holsworthy Military Reserve in the south; Lane Cove River, Ku-ring-gai Chase and Garigal National Parks, Manly Dam and the Pittwater Local Government Area in the north; and the Blue Mountains to the west. A small disjunct population occurs at North Head (NPWS 2000) and is listed as an Endangered Population on the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995.

 

4. In 2002, a Long-nosed Bandicoot was trapped in the backyard of a house on New Canterbury Road in the suburb of Dulwich Hill. Since then, seven dead Long-nosed Bandicoots have been reported in the vicinity: six from an area including the suburbs of Dulwich Hill, Lewisham and Marrickville, and a single bandicoot from the suburb of Five Dock. Seven live animals have also been confirmed in the suburbs of Lewisham and Dulwich Hill, including two animals which were radio-tracked. This newly discovered population in inner western Sydney is disjunct from the nearest records of the Long-nosed Bandicoot, which occur north of the Parramatta River or much further south at Holsworthy Military Reserve. The exact area occupied by the population is not clearly defined. For the purpose of this determination, the population includes the local government areas (LGA) of Marrickville and Canada Bay, with the likelihood that it also includes Canterbury, Ashfield and Leichhardt LGAs. Future research may better define the population and possibly indicate a wider distribution.

 

5. Long-nosed Bandicoots in inner western Sydney shelter mostly under older houses and buildings, and forage in parkland and back-yards (T. Leary pers. comm. August 2007; Australian Museum Business Services 2007; Leary et al. unpubl. data, ms submitted). The sub-adult and adult bandicoots presently living around the Dulwich Hill area may have dispersed from a source population occupying a larger area of remnant vegetation, such as Wolli Creek to the south. There are apparently no large blocks of suitable habitat, likely to support a large source population, on the Cooks River to the south, or along the southern foreshore of Parramatta River and Sydney Harbour to the north.

 

6. This population lives in a highly urbanised environment and faces numerous threats, including collision with vehicles and predation by dogs, cats and foxes. Renovation of old buildings, by replacing footings with concrete slabs and by closure of ground-level cracks and crevices, prevents the bandicoots’ access to nest sites in such ‘crawl spaces’. Removal of weeds and dense vegetation along the freight rail corridor and in parks and gardens will reduce the value of this habitat for sheltering or dispersal. The population is small, fragmented and disjunct, and therefore at risk of extinction owing to local fluctuations in mortality and fecundity. Predation by the European Red Fox Vulpes vulpes (Linnaeus, 1758)’ and ‘Predation by the Feral Cat Felis catus (Linnaeus, 1758)’ are listed as Key Threatening Processes under the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995.

 

7. A population of the Long-nosed Bandicoot Perameles nasuta Geoffroy, 1804 in inner western Sydney is eligible to be listed as an Endangered Population as, in the opinion of the Scientific Committee, it is facing a very high risk of extinction in New South Wales in the near future as determined in accordance with the following criteria as prescribed by the Threatened Species Conservation Regulation 2002:

 

Clause 19

The population is facing a very high risk of extinction in New South Wales in the near future as, in the opinion of the Scientific Committee, it satisfies the following paragraph and also meets the criterion specified in the following clause:

(a) it is disjunct or near the limit of its geographic range.

 

Clause 23

The estimated total number of mature individuals of the population is observed, estimated or inferred to be very low.

 

Professor Lesley Hughes

Chairperson

Scientific Committee

Proposed Gazettal date: 31/10/08

Exhibition period: 31/10/08 – 26/12/08

References:

 

Australian Museum Business Services (2007) Fauna Study for Marrickville City Council. Unpublished report for Marrickville City Council.

 

Chambers LK, Dickman CR (2002) Habitat selection of the long-nosed bandicoot, Perameles nasuta (Mammalia, Peramelidae), in a patchy environment. Austral Ecology 27, 334-342.

 

Cockburn A (1990) Life history of the bandicoots: developmental rigidity and phenotypic plasticity. In ‘Bandicoots and Bilbies’ (eds JH Seebeck, PR Brown, RL Wallis and Kemper CM) pp. 285-292 (Surrey Beatty & Sons: Chipping Norton, NSW)

 

Leary T, Kwok A, Khan B, Ibbetson P (submitted) Yuppy bandicoots of inner west Sydney—in hiding or urban renewal? Manuscript submitted to Australian Zoologist.

 

Marlow BJ (1958) A survey of marsupials of New South Wales. CSIRO Wildlife Research 3, 71-114.

 

Marlow BJ (1962) The mammals. In ‘The Natural History of Sydney’ (ed. JW Evans) pp. 29-31. (The Trustees of the Australian Museum: Sydney)

 

NPWS (2000) ‘Endangered Long-nosed Bandicoot Population at North Head: Threatened Species Information.’ Threatened Species Unit, Central Directorate NSW NPWS, PO Box 1967, Hurstville, NSW 2220.

 

Scott LK, Hume ID, Dickman CR (1999) Ecology and population biology of long-nosed bandicoots (Perameles nasuta) at North Head, Sydney Harbour National Park. Wildlife Research 26, 805-821.

 

Stodart E (1995) Long-nosed Bandicoot. In ‘The Mammals of Australia’(ed R Strahan) pp. 184-185. (Reed Books: Chatswood, NSW)

Page last updated: 28 February 2011