Day 26 of #the100dayproject and my #realandendangered project. Today, we are going to highlight the Woylie (also referred to as the Brush-tailed bettong), which is a small marsupial endemic to Australia. 1. Their most distinctive feature is the black crest of fur that extends along the end of its tail. 2. They are similar in appearance to a small kangaroo, as they typically stand and hop on muscular hind limbs while holding shorter forearms close to its belly. 3. They forage primarily for underground fungi (truffles), but also feed on tubers, bulbs, seeds and other vegetative products, such as resin. Also worth noting, they can store food items in their cheek pouches for later. 4. They are mostly solitary and are nocturnal. 5. Their tails are prehensile, which can grasp and carry nesting material such as grass to build their dome-shaped nests under the brush.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature currently lists the Woylie as "critically endangered." This species has seen some varying population changes. Conservation between the 1970s and 1990s actually improved their numbers (up to 250,000 by the early 2000s) to a point they could be removed from the threatened species list. However, since then their population has declined 90%. Historically, they were considered a pest and between 1880 and 1920 over three million were killed for bounty money. Today's the Woylie's main threats include introduction of predators and competitors (foxes, feral cats, rats, and rabbits), but also habitat destruction, disease, increased agricultural grazing land and possibly changed fire regimens. Current conservation efforts include monitoring the fox population and careful habitat management. Conservationists are also researching potential translocations sites. They are also part of a bigger investigation by the Woylie Conservation Research Project to understand the massive decline starting in 2001 in Australia. #enmlillustration #thesadhappy #digitalart