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Far north Queensland

How many endangered northern bettongs are left in far north Queensland?

The northern bettong is only found in three small, fragmented areas in north-east Queensland. These rare animals are declining throughout most of their range, and if something isn’t done soon, they will disappear altogether – that’s where Wildilfe Spotter and you come in! Help scientists work out their distribution so they can help these creatures survive.

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Animals you’ll see

A northern bettongNorthern bettong (threatened species)
A bettong is a small brown or grey marsupial that looks a bit like a cross between a kangaroo and a rat. The fur on their belly is generally lighter, either white or pale grey. Northern bettongs have a tail much longer than their body, and a distinctive black line of fur along their tail.

 

Black-footed tree rat (threatened species)
This large native rodent has grey fur and often appears to be fluffy or shaggy. It has black feet and long black ears. The base of its tail is black, while the end is white, and the tail is covered in fur.

 

Giant white-tailed rat
One of Australia’s largest native rodents, it has grey-brown fur on its back with a lighter coloured underbelly and pale pink paws. They have a long, hair-less tail with a distinct white end.

 

 

Top tips from the researchers

Bettongs and bandicoots like similar – look for the nose, it’s much long and conical in bandicoots. Bettongs have a rounder nose.

 

The research team

WWF-Australia is working to conserve and protect the endangered northern bettong, and is bringing together the unique skills and expertise of James Cook University (JCU), the Department of Environmental and Heritage Protection, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, as well as local Indigenous, NRM and community groups to help answer three broad questions: How many northern bettongs are left; what happens if we lose them; how do we bring bettongs back from the brink?

These rare animals are declining throughout most of their range, and if something isn’t done soon, they will disappear altogether. A huge amount of research is underway to determine their current population status and distribution, habitat requirements and role in the ecosystem. New non-invasive survey techniques to monitor the known population into the future are being developed. This research is critical for the conservation of the species. The project also looks at addressing one of the biggest threats to the northern bettong (inappropriate fire patterns) by directly influencing and improving on-ground fire management.

 

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