Black-footed tree rat rediscovered

By AG Staff August 24, 2017
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The native rodent hadn’t been seen since 1987.

THE BLACK-FOOTED tree rat (Mesembriomys gouldii), not seen in the Kimberley for almost 30 years, has been rediscovered in the remote north-west of the region.

The native rodent was discovered by Parks and Wildlife (WA) officials last year during routine surveys of the area.

After sighting the rodent Parks and Wildlife staff were skeptical about whether or not this could be the black-footed tree rat, however confirmation of the rediscovery came from footage taken by a number of remote cameras that were set up by the team over the wet season.

“We were a bit unsure at first, we tried to explain it away and said ‘no, it can’t be, it can’t be, it’s got to be this or it’s got to be that’ but the images speak for themselves which was really exciting,” Ben Corey, Parks and Wildlife Service ecologist, told ABC News.

“It had not been seen in the Kimberley since 1987, despite considerable survey efforts during this period.”

Further confirmation came from a nest box positioned in the area being monitored which contained python scat with traces of the black-footed tree rats hair. 

black-footed tree rat

Camera footage of the black-footed tree rat (Image Credit: Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions)