Only a single colony of northern hairy-nosed wombat remains, guarded by a dingo proof fence in Queensland, Australia.
Nocturnal and mostly solitary, they are the largest herbivorous burrowing mammal, and the largest wombat. They spend their days in the burrows, coming out at night to feed on grasses. Despite its size, they can reach 23, or more, years old. The main threats they face include predation by dingoes, but also invasive exotic species of grass competing with the indigenous species they feed on. There are only three species in its suborder; Vombatiformes. This group diverged from other marsupial herbivores at least 40 million years ago. Its historical range spread across New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland – but the only remaining colony occupies a 3km2 range within the Epping Forest National Park, in Queensland. Despite the drastic reduction in population since European colonisation, the Epping Forest population have been steadily increasing to 230 wombats in 2015.
- Order: Diprotodontia
- Family: Vombatidae
- Population: 115
- Trend: stable
- Size: 108cm
- Weight: 31kg
Endemic to Australia, there is currently just one population remaining, situated in 500 hectares of Epping Forest National Park in central Queensland.
Habitat and Ecology
Preferred habitats are flat semi-arid grasslands and open acacia or eucalypt woodlands. Deep sandy soil is required for burrowing. They build large complex tunnel systems to avoid the hot, dry climate, consisting of a number of multi-entrance burrows which are used by groups of 4-5 individuals. They are nocturnal, spending the day in a burrow, and coming out at night to feed on various species of grass.