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Conservation Status: Endangered
Body Length: 20–27 cm
Distribution: South-west Western Australia
Habitat: Forests. Woodlands
Distinguishing feature: Animal symbol of Western Australia
The numbat is our very own pest control expert; its diet consists almost exclusively of termites. They are curious, quiet creatures, endemic to Western Australia and iconic of forests of the Blackwood Catchment.
Since the 1980’s, the numbat (also known as the banded anteater or walpurti) has fluctuated in numbers with its IUCN Red List conservation status becoming Endangered in 2005.
Numbats used to exist in semi-arid and arid regions across much of southern Australia, from south-west Western Australia through South Australia and southern Northern Territory to western New South Wales.
By the 1980s they were restricted to just two reserves in south-west Western Australia; Dryandra Woodland near Narrogin and Perup Nature Reserve near Manjimup. At that stage these two populations comprised as few as 300 individuals and there were serious concerns the numbat was on the verge of extinction.
Major threats to the species are:
- Predation by invasive species, mainly foxes and cats,
- Land clearing,
- Changed fire regimes.
Since the 1980s, numbat populations have been re-established in six conservation areas in south-west Western Australia and two fenced sanctuaries in other states, all within the numbat’s former range.