Scientific name: Lasiorhinus Krefftii
Classification: Critically Endangered
No.’s left in the wild: 113
Original habitat: Northern Australia
Current habitat: Central Queensland, Australia
The northern hairy-nosed wombat is a marsupial and one of the world’s most endangered species. At last count there were only 113 individuals living in a protected, isolated population in Western Queensland, Australia.
The curious name comes from its distinctive muzzle, which is covered with short brown hairs. It is strong and heavily built, with short, powerful legs and strong claws that are used to dig burrows or search for suitable plants to eat.
Measuring up to I metre in length, and weighing up to 35 kg, it is mostly solitary, eats grasses and stays close to one of its many burrows. It prefers well-grassed sandy country, which is relatively scarce in Australia.
Habitat loss, drought and competition with introduced cattle, sheep and rabbits for food, have contributed to the decline of the Northern Hairy-nosed Wombat since the 1800’s. Further pressure was placed on the species with the introduction of buffel grass for cattle feed, which out-competed with native grasses preferred by the wombat, so forcing it to travel further afield.
The small population that remains is susceptible to predators, diseases, fire and inbreeding.