The Crest-tailed Mulgara, back from extinction

Australia’s Crest-tailed Mulgara apparently took extinction as more of a suggestion than a fact as the little critter has been rediscovered in New South Wales after more than a century.

It isn’t often that extinct species get a reprieve. When a small, adorable-looking marsupial like the crest-tailed mulgara disappears for more than a century among the predators and arid conditions of the Australian wilderness, it would generally be wiser to assume it isn’t coming back. But that is precisely what has just happened. Rediscovered in Sturt National Park in New South Wales, it seems that the crest-tailed mulgara hasn’t thrown in the towel just yet.

This minuscule, carnivorous marsupial has been all too rare for far too long.

The crest-tailed mulgara, weighing just 150 grams, was greatly reduced in population due to the influence of invasive species like rabbits, cats and foxes introduced to Australia by European settlers. In fact, researchers reportedly only knew about the crest-tailed mulgara’s presence in New South Wales from fossil evidence.  At present, it’s estimated that the species may have a total population of around 10,000. It’s possible that the decline in Australia’s rabbit population has allowed for the mulgara’s comeback and it’s hoped that further efforts to curb the population of wild cats and foxes will give the mulgara an even greater chance to thrive.

Plans are already underway to help conserve the mulgara and species like it from invasive species. According to Island Conservation, there are plans to develop a 202km2 area, free of predators, to help the mulgara, the greater bilby, burrowing bettong, and the western quoll populations to develop, undisturbed once more. So it’s all-around great news for Australia’s diverse and fascinating wildlife. It’s not too late for the frankly adorable crest-tailed mulgara, and with any luck, conservationists will be able to help a lot more species like it to endure and even to thrive.

Ronan Daly

Ronan Daly is a staff writer for My Good Planet who specialises in Technology and Science. With a Masters Degree in English, and over a decade's experience as a teacher and writer, Ronan has brought a breezy, learned style to My Good Planet, making occasionally complex material accessible and understandable to all.

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