Updated: June 10, 2011
Wildlife of the Great Western Woodlands
The Great Western Woodlands is known to provide different foraging, nesting or roosting habitat for an array of animals, even though relatively few comprehensive surveys have yet been undertaken.
The Western Australia Museum (Biological Survey of the Goldfields and FaunaBase) and Birds Australia (the Australian Ornithological Club) atlas database has recorded 49 species of mammals, 138 reptile species, 14 frog species and 215 species of bird in the region.
In addition to the value of the region’s species richness in general, the number of different reptile species make the Great Western Woodlands exceptional among the world’s reptile communities.
The region is an ark for our wildlife
Many of the animal species found in the woodlands are known to be rare and vulnerable. On the state government’s rare and endangered fauna list are 32 threatened vertebrate species that either exist, or are likely to exist, in the Great Western Woodlands.
These include the beautiful Chuditch, western brush wallaby, greater long eared bat and red –tailed phascogale.
The Wilderness Society, through a grant from the Wind Over Water foundation, conducted a vertebrate fauna survey of the Honman Ridge - Bremer Range, and found 19 species that were of conservation significance in that area alone.
In addition, 4 species that are now globally extinct were once found in the Great Western Woodlands (the pig-footed bandicoot, the long-tailed hopping mouse, the crescent nail-tailed wallaby and the broad-faced potoroo).
And a further 7 species have gone extinct from the Great Western Woodlands region and now only exist either on predator-free islands, in enclosures designed to keep cats and foxes out of them, or in very remote areas of Australia (the burrowing bettong, the banded-hare wallaby, the mala, the western barred bandicoot, the greater stick-nest rat, the plains mouse and the djoongari).
In one spectacular find at Peak Charles, the bones of quolls, bandicoots, macropods, native rodents and a possum were found alongside the remains of house mice and rabbits, indicating that their presumed local extinctions have happened within the last century.
With improved management, it could be possible to re-introduce these animals back into the Great Western Woodlands.
Recent evidence suggests that many more species than are currently recognised on State and Federal threatened species lists are at risk of extinction and are currently experiencing significant declines in their ranges. For example, up to 60% of Australia’s terrestrial bird species have shown significant declines because of current land practices.
The preservation of the Great Western Woodlands is likely to be particularly critical to the long-term survival of birds that inhabit woodland and mallee ecosystems (e.g. Gilbert’s whistler, regent parrot and malleefowl).
For more information, please contact:
The Wilderness Society WA Inc GWW
City West Lotteries House
2 Delhi St
West Perth, WA, 6005
Phone: 08 6460 4936