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Media Release
Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment

NATIVE RODENT NOT EXTINCT AFTER ALL


4 January 1998
(01/98)

The Alice Springs Mouse, a rodent thought to be extinct, has been positively identified as another rodent species still found in Western Australia.

Scientific evidence shows the Djoongari, or Shark Bay Mouse, is the same species as the Alice Springs Mouse which has not been sighted in Central Australia since 1895.

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill says this means the Alice Springs Mouse is removed from Australia's list of species presumed to be extinct.

Senator Hill says that at the same time the Howard Government is taking action to maximise the chance of survival of this native rodent by implementing a national recovery plan for the species.

"Although it is great news that this species is not extinct, it is important to remember that the Shark Bay Mouse or Djoongari is under threat along with over 30 other species of native rodents.

"Australian native rodents account for half of Australia's mammal extinctions since European settlement.

"The major threats to the survival of the Shark Bay Mouse are the destruction of its preferred habitat which is coastal sand dunes, heath and mangrove hollows.

"Populations of the Shark Bay Mouse are found on Bernier Island at Shark Bay and may soon be introduced to Peron Peninsula in Western Australia where it was once found.

"Conservation efforts, including eradicating feral goats and limiting public access to a designated nature reserve are just a few of the projects being funded through the Natural Heritage Trust and the Green Corps, which will assist the species' recovery."

The Shark Bay Mouse is included on Australia's list of nationally vulnerable species. These changes to Schedule 1 of the Endangered Species Protection Act 1992 are now in force.

Media Contacts:
Matt Brown (Senator Hill) 0419 693 515 or 02 6277 7640
Bruce Male (Environment Australia) 02 6250 0281
January 4, 1998 (01/98)

Commonwealth of Australia