Northern Territory Mammals Endangered

The Northern Territory has a low population density, so it could expected that natural fauna would remain dominant over human destruction of the environment. Apparently, this is not the case. A study observed Aboriginal elders and their interaction with wildlife. Comparing findings with previous records showed a decline in the mammal population.

Only small numbers of quoll, black-footed rat and golden bandicoot survive. Nearly 50 new animals have been included in the endangered list this year. Two mammals and a bird have now been declared extinct. Small and medium size animals are affected most. Large animals are unaffected. It seems large animals such as kangaroos benefit from the presence of humans.

Planned action is proving beneficial. Improved fire control has raised the number of gouldian finches. Reptiles are doing well. Specimens of the bronzeback lizard have been found. They were thought to be extinct in the Northern Territory.

Damage has been done by the influx of animals foreign to Australia such as cats, foxes and cane toads. Farming is thought to have less impact. A major problem is that fewer fires occur in some areas. Aboriginals did practise traditional patch burning. This was good for native flora and fauna. Aboriginals should be encouraged to go back to the old ways before the skills are lost.
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