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Title: The Distribution, Status and Ecology of the Rufous Rat-Kangaroo, 'Aepyprymnus rufescens', in Northern New South Wales
Contributor(s): Schlager, Felix Erwin (author)
Conferred Date: 1982
Copyright Date: 1981
Open Access: Yes
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Abstract: The rufous rat-kangaroo ('Aepyprymnus rufescens') and the long-nosed potoroo ('Potorous tridactylus') are believed to be the only members of the Potoroinae (rat-kangaroos) sub-family of macropods still persisting in northern New South Wales. The three 'Bettongia' species, 'B. penicillata', 'B. lesueur' and 'B. gaimardi', were all represented during historical times but have not been positively recorded as living animals in the north of the State for over 50 years. Their disappearance resulted from an inability to contend with the patterns of land clearing and pastoralism adopted by European man, and with the spread of introduced predators and competitors. At the time of early European occupation, 'A. rufescens' was distributed over almost 60% of New South Wales. It was very common in most northern districts around 1900, but increasing stock (esp. sheep) densities, compounded by waves of hares, rabbits and foxes, together with the imposition of bounties, proved too much for the species. The subsequent decline was rapid, resulting in the virtual elimination of all rat-kangaroos from the tablelands and more in land areas by the 1920's. Today, 'Aepyprymnus' occupies a very reduced range, covering less than 2% of the State. It is distributed along a narrow belt on the eastern slopes of the Great Dividing Range, from Queensland in the north, south to about Coffs Harbour. An isolated population exists in the Barrington Tops area north of Newcastle. Its status in N.S.W. is uncommon. Queensland is the only other State where the species is found, and there it is considered relatively common. The distribution of 'A. rufescens' within its present range is discontinuous and patchy.
Publication Type: Thesis Masters Research
Rights Statement: Copyright 1981 - Felix Erwin Schlager
HERDC Category Description: T1 Thesis - Masters Degree by Research
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