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A rodent species found only in the Barrington Tops now facing extinction

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Conservation organisation Aussie Ark have launch a crowdfunding campaign to save the Broad-toothed Rat from extinction and are calling for local participation.

The Broad-toothed Rats are critical to the native environment in the Barrington Tops and they are disappearing at a rapid pace, which will have compounding effects felt by all species within the ecosystem.

Aussie Ark are building a captive breeding nucleus for the species, constructing intensive breeding facilities, modification of sites for release to sanctuary, wild population supplement and research.

They be the pioneers for learning about this species including behavioural traits that remain unknown.

This is not Aussie Ark’s first rodeo; the conservation facility already works with many of Australia’s most iconic and elusive endangered species.

“We love being able to shed light on some of Australia’s more unknown species.

“Rats bring with them the connotation of dirty and diseased and lack the attention of the world in comparison to pandas, elephants, or tigers. However, they play a critical role, and it’s up to us to make sure they are given the chance to survive, Hayley Shute, Manager of Conservation at Aussie Ark said.

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The Broad-toothed Rat or Tooarrana is unique in nature and behaviour - they make and use runways through the dense wet grasses and tussocks they inhabit, which protect them from predators.

They nest and shelter under logs and undergrowth, huddling in these nests to stay warm in winter, and their diet consists of almost all greenery so their bright green faeces are very distinguishable.

The species numbers have decreased drastically due to the compounding threats they face including introduced predators, such as foxes and cats.

Feral horses, cattle, and pigs degrade their habitat and outcompete them for food.

Weeds such as Scotch Broom take over their environment, decreasing food plants and shelter.

“Without intervention the Broad-toothed Rat’s demise is imminent. I refuse to sit back and watch, and I hope the rest of Australia can get behind us. I cannot stress enough how quickly they are disappearing, and that action is needed right now," Ms Shute said.

The 2019-2020 bushfires destroyed no less than 1/3 of their total remaining habitat and have less to call home and their future is at risk.

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The impact these fires have had is shown to be far worse than first anticipated.

Many species that were already vulnerable are now facing extinction.

The Tooarrana belongs to the Barrington Tops. Sadly, it is on a trajectory to extinction if action is not taken in the short term. This population of Broad-toothed rats is found in the Barrington Tops and nowhere else on Earth, meaning once it’s gone it is never coming back.

You can support Aussie Ark and their mission to save this elusive species by donating today: https://bit.ly/savingthebroadtoothedrat

Image Credit: Supplied by Aussie Ark