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36. Gilbert’s Potoroo

Potorous gilbertii


This small marsupial is one of the most fungi-dependent mammals anywhere in the world.

Only 40 years after its discovery in 1840, Gilbert’s potoroo disappeared completely, leading researchers to fear it has become extinct, another victim of the changes brought about by European colonization of Australia. More than a century later, in December 1994, the species was rediscovered in a small area of heath on the slopes of Mt Gardner, Western Australia. There are only three extant members of the genus Potorous, and only three genera in the family Potoroidae. With a global population of less than 100, Gilbert’s potoroo is one of Australia’s most threatened marsupials, and one of the world’s rarest mammals.

  • Order: Diprotodontia
  • Family: Potoroidae
  • Population: They are endemic to the south-western part of Western Australia. It is currently restricted to a small area of approximately 1,000 ha in the Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve on the Mt. Gardner promontory, near Albany, Western Australia. Within that small area, it occurs in at least five separate patches of long-unburnt, dense shrubland on the valley slopes.
  • Trend: decreasing
  • Size: 27 cm
  • Weight: 900-1,100g

EDGE Score

EDGE Score: 5.54 (?)
ED Score: 14.97 (?)
GE / IUCN Red List (?)
Not Evaluated Data Deficient Least Concern Near Threatened Vulnerable Endangered Critically Endangered Extinct in the Wild Extinct


< 100

Habitat and Ecology

Gilbert’s potoroo live in dense, long-unburt shrubland. They eat almost entirely fungi; making up 90% of analysed scat contents – the remainder was comprised of sand and root material, invertebrates and occasionally seeds from fleshy fruits.

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Loading species distribution map...

This wordcloud illustrates the threats facing this species. The size of each word indicates the extent of a species range that is affected by that threat (larger size means a greater area is affected). The colour of the word indicates how much that threat impacts the species (darker shades of red mean the threat is more severe).

Fire Invasive species

Threat wordcloud key:

Small area affected
Large area affected
Least severe
Most severe
Severity unknown
Source: The IUCN List of Threatened Species. Version 2017.1.
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