Prepared by Dr Alan Horsup in collaboration with the northern hairy-nosed wombat recovery team
Conservation Services Division
About the plan
The northern hairy-nosed wombat (NHW) is listed as ‘Endangered’ (Queensland Nature Conservation Act 1992; Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. Under the IUCN SSC (2001) Red List Categories, the NHW is ‘Critically Endangered’ (Criteria B2ab(iii) - single population occupying 2, declining habitat quality). The species is restricted to a single population on Epping Forest National Park (Scientific) near Clermont in central Queensland. The population was estimated to contain 113 individuals in 2000, of which as few as 25 may be breeding females (Banks et al. in press).
The NHW has been recorded in only three localities: Deniliquin, southern NSW; St. George, southern Queensland; and Epping Forest, central Queensland. The species may already have been uncommon at the time of European settlement. The NHW is currently restricted to a single population at Epping Forest National Park (Scientific) in central Queensland.
The available evidence suggests that the NHW was uncommon prior to its very rapid decline over the past 200 years (Crossman 1988). Overgrazing by cattle and sheep, in combination with drought and perhaps predation by dingoes, appear to be the main factors that have contributed to the species' decline. The current major threat to the Epping Forest population is its small size which makes it vulnerable to demographic and environmental stochasticity, inbreeding and consequent loss of genetic variation, predation, competition, disease and wildfire. In addition, the sex ratio is highly skewed towards males, with only 35 females (including perhaps only 25 breeding females) in the population of 113 wombats. A recent major threat, predation by dingoes, resulted in the deaths of nearly 10% of the population in 2000-01 This has been addressed by constructing a dingo-proof fence around all wombat habitat on Epping Forest National Park (EFNP).