Title

Distribution, habitat and conservation status of the eastern pygmy-possum Cercartetus nanus in Tasmania

Document Type

Article

Publication details

Harris, JM, Munks, SA, Goldingay, RL, Wapstra, M & Hird, D 2008, 'Distribution, habitat and conservation status of the eastern pygmy-possum Cercartetus nanus in Tasmania', Australian Mammalogy, vol. 29, no. 2, pp. 213-232.

The publisher's version of this article is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/AM07025

Peer Reviewed

Peer-Reviewed

Abstract

We review literature pertaining to the distribution, habitat and conservation status of the eastern pygmy-possum Cercartetus nanus in Tasmania. Records from fauna surveys, museum specimens, and the Tasmanian Natural Values Atlas database, suggest that although C. nanus is widespread, it occurs in low numbers in Tasmania. From 51 fauna surveys examined, only 19 C. nanus were detected in a total of 47,087 Elliott trap-nights, 5,665 pitfall trap-nights, 196 scats or owl pellets, 899 spotlight hours, and 86 predator stomachs. A total of 102 Tasmanian C. nanus specimens was located in Australian and overseas museums. These records combined with 23 from the Natural Values Atlas database and 61 from an earlier published collation represent 99 of 679 grid squares (10 km x 10 km) overlaid across Tasmania (including King Island and Flinders Island). The patchy distribution of these records may be a reflection of low survey effort, low population numbers, low detectability or a combination of these and other factors. The highest number of records for a single locality was only four. Available data suggest that Tasmanian populations may be small and therefore potentially at risk from habitat loss, inappropriate fire regimes, and firewood collection. We believe there is a pressing need for further surveys to more clearly define the conservation status of C. nanus in Tasmania.