The Marsupial Mole was previously listed under the Commonwealth Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act (2012) as Endangered. The EPBC listing represented a precautionary approach because the species lies in the ‘critical weight range’ as potential prey for foxes and cats. However, the Southern Marsupial Mole has recently been de-listed as Endangered under the EPBC Act. The IUCN lists the status as data deficient.
The Marsupial Mole is infrequently observed as it is primarily a burrowing species and lives underground in burrows such as those pictured above. They rarely come to the surface and it is hoped that this limits their predation by cats and foxes. The Marsupial Mole is found in the Great Victoria Deserts of WA and SA as well as the western half of the Simpson Desert in the NT. They inhabit sand dunes and adjacent swales where there is deep, loose sand.
The threats to the Marsupial Mole are largely unknown. Predation by cats, foxes, wild dogs and dingo are thought to be one of the highest pressures. Predator scats have been found with Marsupial Mole remains in them (e.g. claws). The impacts of other threats such as inappropriate fire regimes and late-season hot wildfires, flooding and noise pollution are largely unknown.
The Action Plan for Australian Mammals (2012) has identified several knowledge gaps in current Marsupial Mole research, including the need to:
- Better define distribution;
- Establish or enhance monitoring;
- Resolve taxonomic uncertainties;
- Assess the impacts of the threats; and
- Assess habitat requirements and diet.
What is the Trust doing?
The Trust held a workshop on 24 November 2014 which brought together experts from industry, consultants, government agencies and environmental not-for-profits. At the workshop experts presented their latest research and findings and the groups discussed and prioritised threats and knowledge gaps for the species in the Great Victoria Desert.
The Trust plans to produce a Marsupial Mole Research and Adaptive Management Plan (RAMP) in future to collate the findings of the workshop and existing information. Initial focus for the Trust, however, is on finalising and implementing RAMPs for Malleefowl and Sandhill Dunnart, as these species are currently identified as being in more critical need of conservation than the Marsupial Mole.
Page updated 14/07/2017