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Northern Hairy-nosed Wombat

Australia

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Lasiorhinus krefftii

Endangered

  • Drought and wildfire
  • Competition for food with cattle and sheep
  • Predation by wild dogs, rabbits, and dingoes
  • Inbreeding within its small population
  • Lack of genetic variation
  • Mortality through mange, toxoplasmosis, and other diseases

The Northern Hairy-Nosed Wombat, one of the world’s rarest land mammals and the largest wombat species, used to roam across New South Wales, Queensland, and Victoria 100 years ago. Currently, there are only less than 200 remaining individuals living within the Epping Forest National Park.

This nocturnal and solitary herbivorous burrowing mammal, which require deep sandy soil for its building complex tunnel systems, can reach more than 20 years of age despite its miniature size.

There are many reasons why the Northern Hairy-Nosed Wombat is already a critically endangered species even though its habitat within the well-protected Epping Forest National Park gives it a chance to increase in number.

This might be attributed to the proliferation of a specific grass species that grows in dense clumps, making the surrounding area prone to wildfire occurrences and difficult to find food in. Overgrazing of domestic or agricultural animals means stiff competition for food which is worsened whenever there’s drought.

The small population leads to high cases of inbreeding, lack of genetic variation, and susceptibility to fatal diseases such as mange and toxoplasmosis. And they are also targeted prey for wild dogs – and their life is also always at risk with the presence of dingoes and rabbits in the human settlements nearby.