Tiny marsupial makes big impact in Queensland
The Endangered Julia Creek dunnart has put development in Longreach to a halt.
The Endangered Julia Creek dunnart (Sminthopsis douglasi). (Credit: AAP image)
A TINY MOUSE-LIKE marsupial is standing in the way of a $25 million investment in central-west Queensland.
The Stockman's Hall of Fame has had to halt earthworks for a multi-purpose equestrian centre at the Longreach tourist attraction because the site might be the habitat of the nationally Endangered Julia Creek dunnart (<em>Sminthopsis douglasi</em>).
Hall of Fame CEO Ben Maguire says the Longreach Regional Council can't confirm if the tiny animal does in fact call the proposed site home.
Little dunnart creating big issues
However, in the ensuing confusion about what environmental impact studies may be needed, the project has had to be postponed and may be delayed up to two years, he says.
The expansion would inject millions of dollars into the west Queensland economy, Ben said. But far from blaming the endangered critters, he is frustrated at the red tape surrounding the issue, he said.
"We want to respect the environment and do the right thing, but I'm more frustrated by the process it takes to get through to finding out what we've actually got to do."
The Julia Creek dunnart is a small nocturnal marsupial (about 40-70g) that feeds on small insects and is mostly found in a small part of northwest Queensland.
Australia's most dangerous predators
How captivity affects brain size in animals
Private conservation protects Aussie species
Marsupial mole: enduring enigma
Fossil find challenges marsupial mole evolution
Fossil of weird snail-eating marsupial found
Close encounter of the furry kind
Hidden populations of rare marsupial found
Breeding success good news for pygmy possum
Northern hairy-nosed wombat births a boon
Home to a warm climate and the crystal clear waters of the Whitsunday Islands, Queensland is a tropical paradise. Off the coast lies the Great Barrier Reef, a breathtaking coral system abounding in exotic fish and spectacular colours. The lush World Heritage-listed Daintree forest in the far north provide some relief from the heat, while further inland, the Simpson Desert’s earthy red dunes offer a stark change of scene.