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Endangered Species Feared Extinct Was Recently Spotted On Remote Farm 

Source: BUSH HERITAGE AUSTRALIA / Shutterstock

A critically endangered species of the critter family was recently spotted on a remote farm. A few years back it was believed that the central rock cat, one of the five rock cat species that is native to Australia, had gone extinct.

Bush Heritage Australia Shared An Update On Facebook

Recently, two of the tiny rodents were captured on wildlife cameras in the Narwietooma and Glen Helen stations located in the Northern Territory of Australia. This region is known for its arid climate.

Source: Facebook/Bush Heritage Australia

Bush Heritage Australia posted an update on Facebook saying, “The critically endangered central rock rat has been seen at Narwietooma and Glen Helen stations on motion sensor cameras installed by Bush Heritage in partnership with Hewitt.”

Severely Endangered Animal

According to Nick Mogford, Executive of Strategy and Growth at Bush Heritage Australia, “Most people would say it’s one of the two most endangered mammals in Australia, so a really good finding.”

Source: Wikimedia/Michael Barritt and Karen May

Mogford added, “[The rock rat] was thought to be extinct a couple of decades ago, so it’s a really rare and threatened species.”

The Research Team Felt Over The Moon

Senior field ecologist Matt Appleby has admitted that the entire team has been “over the moon” due the spotting of the rare species.

Source: Pexels

Referring to the rarity and the significance of the event, Appleby said, “It’s a little bit of a needle in a haystack.”

Hard to Spot

Spotting the rare creature in pictures is a massive undertaking. Appleby explained, “There’s often a lot of photographs you take of grasses just blowing in the breeze … you’re passing through thousands of photos, sifting through that, and then you get down to the last few.”

Source: Pexels

Appleby added, “You have to look at things like those features on the tail, or the length of the tail to the length of the body.”

It Is Possible That The Critters Are Present In Other Locations As Well

Prior to this recent spotting, it was believed that the central rock cat exists only in the Tjoritja/West MacDonnell National Park area which is adjacent to Narwietooma and Glen Helen.

Source: Wikimedia/Kattastroffee1976

Appleby is now optimistic that the recent findings suggest these “small and cryptic” creatures may have populations in other parts of the country as well. Appleby said, “Don’t give up hope!”

Turning Into A Speck

Sharing more details about the species, Appleby said, “[The rock rat] used to occur right across Central Australia, in the Northern Territory, but right across the arid zone of Western Australia as well.”

Source: Pexels

Appleby added, “It’s gone from a massive area down to a speck on the map. It’s quite unfortunate … but there could be other populations, bigger populations out there.”

A Significant Finding

Bush Heritage Australia is in talks with Hewitt Cattle Australia, the company that owns the stations, and with the Northern Territory and federal governments, to conduct population surveys to determine the exact number of these rare rodents at their newly discovered habitats.

Source: Pexels

According to Appleby, the finding is extremely significant considering the fact that the central rock cat is one of the 20 mammals that have been listed under the Commonwealth threatened species category.

Need for Funding

Appleby said, “If something’s going to get funded, this should be one of those species.”

Source: Pexels

Appleby added, “This is sort of it for the central rock rat, in terms of its survival.”

Highest Priority

The recent seasons of high rainfall in central Australia led to a lot of grass growth in the region. It is believed that this factor contributed significantly to cause the rock cat population to thrive, thereby, also creating the perfect conditions that have led to its discovery in the region.

Source: Wikimedia/Doug Beckers

Mogford also shared that another result of the high rainfall has been the rise in feral cat numbers. Mogford said, “That’s why the focus on feral cat management is the highest priority [to conserve the rare species].”

Fires Are Also A Threat to The Species

Appleby mentioned that recent fires in the region may also have posed a threat to the central rock cats.

Source: Pexels

Appleby said, “Having shorter and more open vegetation actually makes it really easy for cats to prey on them as well.”

Hewitt Cattle Australia Is Happy to Be Working With Bush Australia

Hewitt Cattle Australia’s CEO, Mick Hewitt, said that he is very happy to be working with Bush Australia on the ongoing conservation project.

Source: Pexels

Mick said, “Hewitt recognises the importance of responsible stewardship of the land, especially as it relates to biodiversity and ecosystems.”

Conservation and Agricultural Activities Can Go Hand-in Hand

Mogford pointed out that this research shows that agricultural activities and conservational efforts can be combined together in a very effective manner.

Source: Pexels

Mogford said, “There’s great opportunities on agricultural land to get some biodiversity conservation and natural capital benefits.”

A Brilliant Opportunity for the Country

Mogford went on to explain that combining agricultural practices with conservation efforts can create a very unique opportunity for the country.

Source: Pexels

As Mogford puts it, Close to 60 per cent of Australia is managed for agriculture, and if you consider the standalone conservation values of some of that land, but also some of the opportunities to tweak production practices to get production outcomes and also conservation outcomes, it’s a really significant opportunity for Australia.

More Research Underway

Bush Heritage Australia is planning to conduct Ambalindum Station, another Hewitt property. The property is located northeast of Alice Springs.

Source: Pexels

The central rock cat is a nocturnal species. Members of the species forage for food at night.

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Sally Reed

Written by Sally Reed

Sally, a dynamic and viral writer, has taken the literary world by storm with her exceptional storytelling prowess. With an uncanny ability to tap into the collective consciousness of her readers, she crafts narratives that resonate deeply and linger long after the last word is read.

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