A partnership between the Jarli Local Aboriginal Land Council and Saving our Species is contributing to better long-term conservation outcomes for the threatened northern long-nosed potoroo.
The northern long-nosed potoroos (Potorous tridactylus tridactylus) found within the Ngunya Jargoon Indigenous Protected Area (IPA), south of Ballina, form Australia’s largest known colony of the species. They are also the only viable population on the far north coast of New South Wales.
Prior to the 2019–2020 bushfires, the colony was estimated to contain 100 individuals. That number is expected to be lower now because the bushfires burnt 85% of the IPA, impacting on key habitat for the species.
A $30,000 project led by Saving our Species in partnership with the Jarli Local Aboriginal Land Council is seeing threatened species officers, Aboriginal rangers and wildlife experts work side by side to determine how the colony has fared following the fire. The team will implement management actions for better long-term conservation outcomes for the species.
Using remote sensing cameras, project partners have found evidence of breeding activity and potoroo presence in the IPA where they hadn’t been recorded previously.
The project involves predator management, targeting cats and foxes, which both pose a threat to the species in the post fire landscape.
The potoroo lives in heathlands, shrublands, dry forests and woodlands on coastal plains. The species is important because it has a symbiotic relationship with eucalypts, eating ‘truffles’ or underground fungi dug from around the roots of the trees. Potoroos are crucial to spreading the spores of the fungi that produce the truffles across the landscape.
The potoroo is also culturally significant to the local Bundjalung community and features as the logo for the Ngunya Jargoon IPA.