Crest-tailed mulgara rediscovered in NSW after century-long absence

By AG Staff 15 December 2017
Reading Time: 2 Minutes Print this page
A crest-tailed mulgara, a carnivorous but cute Australian marsupial, has been found in NSW during a routine survey of a national park.

A CREST-TAILED mulgara (Dasycercus cristicauda), not seen in New South Wales for almost a century and presumed extinct to the area, has been found in the Sturt National Park north-west of Tibooburra.

A team of scientists from UNSW came across the single mulgara while working on the Wild Deserts Project, an initiative that started at the beginning of this year and aims to bring back seven locally extinct mammals to the NSW corner country.

There are two species of mulgara in Australia, the crest-tailed and the brush-tailed mulgara. The crest-tailed can be distinguished by the arrangement of black hairs along the back half of the tail which form more of a dorsal crest along its tail.

crest-tailed mulgara

(Image Credit: Wild Deserts)

“The species weighs around 150 grams and has pale blonde fur and a thick tail with a distinctive black crest,” Wild Deserts ecologist Dr Rebecca West confirmed.

The crest-tailed mulgara is to believe to have become extinct to the NSW area due to predation by introduced species.

“The Crest-tailed Mulgara was once widely distributed across sandy desert environments in inland Australia, but declined due to the effects of rabbits, cats and foxes,” Rebecca said.

According to Wild Deserts project co-ordinator Reece Pedler, next year the Wild Deserts team are due to begin introduced predator and rabbit eradication programs, which he said will further assist the crest-tailed mulgara’s comeback.