Rufous Hare-Wallaby (Lagorchestes hirsutus) National Recovery Plan
Department of Environment and Conservation (WA), 2012
ISSN 0816 9713
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The rufous hare-wallaby or mala was formerly distributed across Australia within the spinifex deserts of the Northern Territory and north-west South Australia and is now extinct in the wild on the mainland. There is a single introduced population on Trimouille Island off the Pilbara coast of Western Australia that has been self-sustaining for over eight years. The remaining populations are held in captivity in the Northern Territory (Watarrka National Park, Alice Springs Desert Park, Uluru-Kata Tjunta National Park), Western Australia (Peron Captive Breeding Facilities, Lorna Glen), and New South Wales (Scotia Sanctuary).
The Bernier Island and Dorre Island rufous hare-wallaby subspecies (Shark Bay islands subspecies) occur only on Bernier and Dorre Islands in Shark Bay, Western Australia.
The south-west subspecies (Lagorchestes hirsutus hirsutus) formerly inhabited the temperate woodlands and grasslands of Western Australia and is now extinct.
The mala is thought to have disappeared due to a combination of predation by introduced species (the European fox Vulpes vulpes and feral cat Felis catus), habitat destruction and alteration due to agriculture and pastoral use, the impact of the introduced European rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus, and changes in fire regimes. The populations of the rufous hare-wallaby on Bernier and Dorre Islands are stable, but are potentially threatened by the introduction of exotic species, fire and disease.
This recovery plan outlines the recovery actions that are required to address those threatening processes most affecting the ongoing survival of the mala, and begin the recovery process.