Mulgara rediscovered

January 10, 2018

Not extinct . . . Although believed to have been extinct in NSW for the past century, a crest-tailed mulgara has been discovered in Sturt National Park.

A crest-tailed mulgara, a small carnivorous marsupial which has been presumed extinct in NSW for more than a century, has been discovered in Sturt National Park north-west of Tibooburra.

A team from the University of New South Wales’ Wild Deserts project made the unexpected discovery during recent scientific monitoring.

UNSW scientist and ecologist Dr Rebecca West said it was particularly exciting to find a crest-tailed mulgara alive for the first time in NSW.

‘‘The crest-tailed mulgara was once widely distributed across sandy desert environments in inland Australia, but declined due to the effects of rabbits, cats and foxes,’’ she said.

The discovery comes at a great time according to UNSW scientist and Wild Deserts project co-ordinator Reece Pedler, with the group beginning predator and rabbit eradication in a large area next year, which will help the mulgara.

The aim of the Wild Deserts project is to return mammal species including the greater bilby, western quoll and western barred bandicoot — which have not been seen in their natural habitat for more than 90 years — to Sturt National Park.

‘‘Rabbits, cats and foxes will be eradicated from two 20sqkm fenced enclosures in Sturt National Park before locally extinct mammals are reintroduced,’’ National Parks and Wildlife Service area manager Jaymie Norris said.

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