Population milestone for northern hairy nosed wombat as its status is changed in line with international standards

Issued: 4 May 2021

The northern hairy-nosed wombat, Queensland’s most endangered mammal, has reached a population milestone, now exceeding more than 300, giving conservationists cause for cautious celebrations.

When the species was first surveyed, in the early 1980s, there were just 35 wombats, found in only one location in the world – here, in Queensland.

Since then, the Queensland Government, with the support of many, including Glencore, The Wombat Foundation, landowners and volunteers, has undertaken recovery actions to bring the species back from the brink.

There are now an estimated 315 wombats, living in two locations but the Department of Environment and Science (DES) is working to identify wombat habitat to establish more populations.

“This is welcome news indeed and we are greatly encouraged by the steady growth in numbers,” QPWS Director Threatened Species Operations Dr Manda Page said.

“However, we still have a long way to go to secure the future of this species,” she said.

The northern hairy-nosed wombat was listed as Endangered in Queensland under the Queensland Nature Conservation Act 1992 but as Critically Endangered nationally under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

The Queensland status changed from Endangered to Critically Endangered so the categories are aligned with international standards. This change to Critically Endangered does not reflect a lack of success in recovery efforts for the species as we continue to see the numbers increase.