Mini marsupial ‘is a bush fire away from extinction’

 
23 February 2017

published by http://www.thetimes.co.uk


Australia — The world’s rarest marsupial — a mini kangaroo-like ball of soft fur that craves solitude — could be just a bush fire away from extinction and desperately needs a new home, scientists say.

Gilbert’s potoroo, which is the size of a rabbit, lives almost exclusively on Australia’s native truffles – making it one of the pickiest, oddest animals in a land of strange creatures.

It was thought to be long extinct until a colony was discovered near a remote bay in Western Australia in 1994. Their numbers in the wild have since dwindled to about 60.

The creatures, first discovered in 1840 by John Gilbert, the renowned collector for British taxonomist John Gould, are under siege not only from bush fires but also snakes.