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Gilbert’s Potoroo

Australia

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Potorous gilbertii

Endangered

  • Predation caused by feral cats and red foxes
  • Death through catastrophic fires in the surrounding areas

The Gilbert’s Potoroo species belong to the Australian Potoroidae family which include rat-kangaroos and bettongs. Considered as one of the world’s rarest mammals on the critically endangered list of IUCN, this brown-hued, rabbit-sized marsupial which looks like a tiny wallaby or a large rodent and a distinct love for fruiting bodies of underground fungi has a current population of less than one hundred.

This native Western Australian nocturnal macropod is characterised as having front feet with curved claws and long hind feet used for food digging; with long, downward-curving snout that can sharply detect various odours; and having thick body fur that does not only help with insulation but also makes its ears almost invisible.

There are at least two major threats to the survival of the Gilbert’s Potoroo mammals: predation and fire. The introduction of red foxes and feral cats alongside other native predators within its surrounding area makes these marsupial species always at risk of instant death. And because the dense heaths where they live are prone to lightning strikes during summertime, the highly flammable vegetation makes population recovery a difficult challenge.