Remove from NT threatened species list as not nationally threatened

The NT has joined all other state and territory governments and the Australian Government in a common agreement on how threatened species are assessed and listed - it is called the Common Assessment Method (CAM).

Under that agreement, assessments of conservation status are made at the national scale and the listing for a threatened species should be the same in all the states and territories where it occurs (including the national list under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBCA)).

Previously, threatened species listings in the NT were based on conservation status within the NT, i.e. were regional not national assessments. Numerous species are currently listed as threatened in the NT that are not threatened nationally, and to fulfil our obligations to the CAM, these need to be removed from the NT threatened species list.

For 11 species, we propose to change the conservation status from Critically Endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable to a non-threatened category under the Territory Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act 1976 (TPWCA). Aligning with their national status under the EPBCA.

These species are listed in the table below, with a short description of the national distribution and conservation status for each.

Summary of proposed changes to listings

Type Common name/
Scientific name
National distribution and conservation status Current TPWCA * Current EPBCA Proposed TPWCA *
Plant Austrobryonia argillicolaAustrobryonia argillicola (previously known as Mukia sp. Tobermorey Station) is a prostrate herb that lives along creeks and in poorly drained areas on cracking clay plains. The majority of its distribution is in western-central Queensland but it occurs at a small number of sites in eastern-central NT. The apparently limited distribution in the NT is likely an artefact of limited collecting effort in the region, as there appears to be relatively uniform and suitable habitat between known sites. All NT records are on pastoral leases (i.e. not known from any reserves) and there is the potential that plants are grazed by stock or feral herbivores (impacts unknown).

The species was initially listed in the NT because of its rarity in the Territory. The species is not considered threatened in Queensland and its distribution in the NT represents the western limit of its national distribution. Across its national distribution the population size is large and there is no suggestion of a significant decline in numbers at a national scale. Since the species does not meet the national criteria for listing, we propose to take this species off the NT threatened species list.
VU Not listed NT
Plant Marsh Club-rush
(Bolboschoenus caldwellii)
The Marsh Club-rush is widespread and common in south-eastern Australia and Tasmania, in south-western WA, and also in New Zealand. Its distribution extends into Central Australia along drainage lines and in the southern NT it is only known to occur at a series of isolated permanent waterholes, particularly in the Finke Gorge area and Jervois Station. At least one population in Finke Gorge and another at Ilparpa Swamp (near Alice Springs), may now be extinct. Competition with the invasive Couch Grass is probably the major threatening factor, but the species is also grazed by feral herbivores and stock.

The species was initially listed in the NT because of its rarity in the Territory and the potential loss of local populations. Across its large national distribution the population size is large and there is no suggestion of a significant decline. Since the species does not meet the national criteria for listing, we propose to take this species off the NT threatened species list.

This species is confined to a very restricted habitat type in the NT, requiring damp soils near permanent water. As a consequence this species is on the list of Restricted Range plants in the NT, so the potential impacts of development will be considered in the risk assessment of any development proposals.
EN Not listed NT
Plant Hernandia nymphaeifolia This is a species of rainforest/vine forest tree that is widespread in tropical coastal regions from east Africa in the west to Polynesia in the east. It occurs on Cape York, Queensland, Torres Strait, New Guinea and East Timor, and in the NT there are two known locations from the eastern Arnhem Land coast: a vine thicket on coastal limestone cliffs at Port Bradshaw, and vine forest on a dune swale at Manalimandja Point, Groote Eylandt. Beach-washed drift fruit have been collected from Yirrkala in the same general area.

The species is rare in the NT, and this is the basis of its original regional listing in the NT, but it is now considered to have established from beach-washed fruit and there are no obvious threats to the NT population. Consequently, the species does not meet the national criteria for listing and we propose to take this species off the NT threatened species list.

This species is on the list of Restricted Range plants in the NT, so the potential impacts of development will be considered in the risk assessment of any development proposals in north-eastern Arnhem Land.
VU Not listed NT
Plant Wrinkled Honey-myrtle
(Melaleuca fulgens subsp. corrugata)
This subspecies occurs in the tri-state region of NT, WA and SA. It lives on ranges at high altitudes, typically in areas with a high proportion of bare rock and boulders. In the NT it is only known from three widely-spaced sites but is poorly surveyed so likely to occur at more sites in the region. This sub-species may have disappeared from one of the three known sites in the NT. It is more common in WA and SA.

The subspecies is rare in the NT, and the major threat is fire; the subspecies has been shown to resprout after fire, but if fires are too frequent and/or too hot they can kill adults or local populations. These factors were the basis of its original regional listing in the NT. On a national scale, the subspecies is not considered threatened and we propose to take it off the NT threatened species list.
EN Not listed NT
Mammal Brush-tailed Mulgara
(Dasycercus blythi)
The history of threatened species listings of Mulgara/Dasycercus species has been a mixed and messy one, largely due to taxonomic uncertainty and problems with species identification. The Brush-tailed Mulgara is widespread in arid Australia, occupying habitats dominated by spinifex grasses, or where spinifex is sub-dominant or adjacent. There have been relatively long-term monitoring programs of this species in the NT at Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park, Tanami Desert, Western Simpson Desert, and more recently at Newhaven Station (Australian Wildlife Conservancy).

The species was probably more abundant and more widely distributed in the past (but conclusions are confused by taxonomic and identification problems) as major declines occurred in the early 1900s, but recent long-term monitoring has provided no evidence of current decline. With a large national distribution and evidence of little, if any, current decline, we propose to remove the Brush-tailed Mulgara from the NT threatened species list.

The species was assessed nationally as Least Concern in the Action Plan for Australian Mammals 2012.
VU Not listed LC
Mammal Northern Leaf-nosed Bat, Lesser Wart-nosed Horseshoe-bat
(Hipposideros stenotis)
The Northern Leaf-nosed Bat has a broad but patchy distribution across northern Australia where it inhabits rugged rocky areas. In the NT it has been recorded in Arnhem Land, the Victoria River District and the Gulf County; it is also known from the West and East Kimberley regions of WA and the Mt Isa region of Queensland. Surveys have shown the species is no longer present at some previously known sites (particularly from some caves used as maternity sites) but changes in abundance locally or nationally are not clear. The total population is about 10,000 mature individuals and the national rate of decline is lower than IUCN thresholds for listing as threatened. Since the species does not meet the national criteria for listing, we propose to take the Northern Leaf-nosed Bat off the NT threatened species list.

The species was assessed nationally as Near Threatened in the Action Plan for Australian Mammals 2012.
VU Not listed NT
Mammal Itjaritjari, Southern Marsupial Mole, Yitjarritjarri
(Notoryctes typhlops)
The Southern Marsupial Mole is rarely observed because it lives underground in sand dune country, which is often remote. It was originally listed both in the NT and nationally because of the scarcity of records, the poor understanding of the species’ distribution, the belief that it has a very specialised diet, and an apparently high rate of remains found in fox scats. Relatively recent research has developed better methods for detecting the presence of marsupial moles in an area, which has increased the number of records and our knowledge of its distribution, but this work hasn’t dramatically increased the number of live observations or specimens. The Southern Marsupial Mole is much more widespread and probably more common than previously thought, occurring in the Tanami Desert, south-eastern Great Sandy Desert, western Simpson Desert and Great Victoria Desert. We now know that it eats a range of insects, especially insect eggs and larvae, as well as other invertebrates and possibly reptiles. Foxes, cats and dogs/dingoes are clearly better at finding marsupial moles than we are, as their remains are often found in scats. Despite this, predation by feral carnivores is not considered a major threatening process.

Across its large distribution, the total population of Southern Marsupial Moles is likely to be greater than 10,000 mature individuals, and there is no evidence of severe threats that are causing the species to decline within the NT or nationally. Based on this the species is not eligible for continued listing on the NT threatened species list.

The species was assessed nationally as Least Concern in the Action Plan for Australian Mammals 2012.
VU Not listed LC
Mammal Canefield Rat, Minkala (Rattus sordidus) The Canefield Rat was regionally listed as Critically Endangered but a recent reassessment PDF (163.8 KB) of its status concluded the species should be considered as extinct in the NT. The species also occurs in Queensland and is not listed as threatened at the national level. Based on this, the species is not eligible for continued listing on the NT threatened species list; but its status as extinct in the NT is recognised by adding the tag ‘Extinct in the NT’ to its Least Concern conservation status. CRNot listedLC, EX in the NT
Mammal Long-tailed Dunnart
(Sminthopsis longicaudata)
The Long-tailed Dunnart was regionally listed in the NT because it was known from a very small number of records within a relatively small area of the West MacDonnell Ranges. This is isolated from the majority of the distribution of the species in WA, where it occurs in the rocky areas of the Pilbara, Murchinson, North-eastern Goldfields, Ashburton and Gibson Desert regions.

The species is difficult to trap using conventional methods but the recent increase in the use of motion-sensitive camera-traps has resulted in a dramatic increase in the frequency of records of Long-tailed Dunnarts, and improved knowledge of the distribution and habitat preferences of the species. There is no evidence of severe threats that are causing the species to decline within the NT or nationally. Based on this, the species is not eligible for continued listing on the NT threatened species list.
VU Not listed NT
Bird Asian Dowitcher
(Limnodromus semipalmatus)
The Asian Dowitcher is a migratory shorebird that breeds in Siberia and Mongolia and uses the East Asian – Australasian flyway to migrate to Australia each summer. Perhaps 500 dowitchers visit Australia each year. There are relatively few records of the species from the NT coastline (the mouth of the Finniss River to the McArthur River and Melville Island). The majority of Australian records are from WA, Queensland, NSW and Victoria. There is no evidence of major threatening factors or declines in Australia, though there is some global decline due to habitat degradation on the flyway.

The IUCN lists the species on its Red List as Near Threatened on a global scale; the species was assessed nationally as Near Threatened in the Action Plan for Australian Birds 2010. Based on this the species is not eligible for continued listing on the NT threatened species list.
VU Not listed NT
Bird Grey Currawong (western) (Strepera versicolor plumbea) The Grey Currawong (western) was regionally listed as Critically Endangered but a recent reassessment PDF (346.2 KB) of its status concluded the subspecies should be considered as extinct in the NT. The Grey Currawong (western) also occurs in South Australia and Western Australia, and is not listed as threatened at the national level. Based on this, the species is not eligible for continued listing on the NT threatened species list; but its status as extinct in the NT is recognised by adding the tag ‘Extinct in the NT’ to its Least Concern conservation status. CRNot listedLC, EX in the NT

* Refer to the IUCN categories

Last updated: 25 January 2021

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