Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Endangered bandicoot 'should never have been brought to South Australia'

Researchers say the western barred bandicoot was actually five species and those ‘reintroduced’ would never have lived in SA

Tue 17 Jul 2018 01.43 BSTLast modified on Tue 17 Jul 2018 01.44 BST

An endangered Australian bandicoot that was reintroduced to the Australian mainland is now believed to be one of five distinct species, and researchers say it may have been a mistake to introduce it to South Australia.

Scientists working for the Western Australian Museum have published research that concludes that what has been known as the western barred bandicoot is in fact five distinct species – four of which had become extinct by the 1940s as a result of agriculture and introduced predators. The species were closely related but occurred in different parts of Australia.

In the 2000s, western barred bandicoots that had survived on the arid Bernier and Dorre islands off Western Australia were reintroduced to the mainland, including to a predator-proof reserve in outback South Australia.

But the new study shows the surviving species that was translocated to that part of the country would never have occurred there previously.

Lead researcher Dr Kenny Travouillon made the findings after analysing skulls and DNA from tissue from specimens held in collections in Paris and London.

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