26 September 2023

Endangered rat re-found at Wilson’s Prom

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For the first time in three decades the endangered Broad-toothed Rat has been rediscovered at Wilson Promontory.

Celebrating the discovery by Zoos Victoria and Parks Victoria, Minister for Environment and Climate Action, Lily D’Ambrosio said it provided renewed hope for the tiny endangered native rodent known for its chubby cheeks.

Ms D’Ambrosio said populations of Broad-toothed Rats, historically found throughout south-eastern Australia, had been declining in Victoria over the past few decades due to predation by cats and foxes, and habitat loss from an overabundance of grass-grazing animals, bushfires and climate change.

“A team of researchers, led by Zoos Victoria’s Native Rodent Biologist, Dr Phoebe Burns and Parks Victoria’s Restoration Ecologist, Brooke Love, identified isolated grassland patches at Wilsons Promontory where Broad-toothed Rats might inhabit,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.

“After conducting a survey of the area and finding the rodent’s distinctive bright green scat, the team was able to successfully trap, identify and release one of the rodents – making it the first time it has been seen at Wilsons Promontory in 32 years,” she said.

“Along with its chubby cheeks, the Broad-toothed Rat is distinguished by its flat face and short tail.”

Ms D’Ambrosio said the unique little rodent fed almost exclusively on grasses and sedges in cool, wet habitats.

She said the rediscovery underscored the importance of the State’s Prom Sanctuary project, which would see the area become a 50,000-hectare climate change safe haven for Victoria’s rich wildlife and habitats.

“The sanctuary will be the largest, best protected in the country (and) already serves to protect precious habitat for other tiny, threatened and often overlooked native species such as the Pookila, Swamp Antechinus and White-footed Dunnart,” the Minister said.

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