RARE RAT KANGAROO COULD GO EXTINCT
A truffle-eating Australian marsupial known as the rat kangaroo has suffered a dramatic population decline and could become extinct, a report warned Thursday.
The World Wildlife Fund said only 2500 northern bettongs remained in northern Queensland’s coastal tropics, down 70 per cent in the past 30 years.
The northern bettong are at risk from cats, landclearing and bushfires, which have become more frequent and fierce due to climate change.
“With climate change, a massive wildfire could be just around the corner,” WWF’s Tim Cronin said.
“Any situation where you have one population isolated … puts you at a really high risk.” He said it was critical to establish an “insurance population” and consider raising the species’ status to “critically endangered”.
The nocturnal, rabbit-sized animals eat truffles, dispersing truffle spores across their habitat and maintaining a delicate ecological balance.
A northern bettong