Question put forward to the Hon. G.E. GAGO (Minister for State/Local Government Relations, Minister for the Status of Women, Minister for Consumer Affairs, Minister for Government Enterprises, Minister for the City of Adelaide) regarding the population of southern hair-nosed wombats (Lasiorhinus Latifrons).
The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (13 May 2010). Can the Minister for Environment and Conservation advise:
1. What is the population of South Australia's faunal emblem, the southern hairy-nosed wombat Lasiorhinus latifrons?
2. How does the population and distribution of Lasiorhinus latifrons compare to estimations prior to European settlement?
3. Will the minister commission a study of the current population of Lasiorhinus latifrons?
The Hon. G.E. GAGO (Minister for State/Local Government Relations, Minister for the Status of Women, Minister for Consumer Affairs, Minister for Government Enterprises, Minister for the City of Adelaide): The Minister for Environment and Conservation has been advised that:
1. While it is not possible to give accurate indications of actual wombat numbers, research estimates that there are up to 100,000 Southern Hairy-Nosed Wombats in South Australia.
Populations of Southern Hairy-Nosed Wombats fluctuate depending on climatic conditions, habitat availability and available food resources. Generally, the major colonies have expanded in range over the last 20 years, while the smaller and more fragmented populations have continued to decline.
2. In pre-European times, the Southern Hairy-Nosed Wombat population was distributed from the River Murray westward to the Nullarbor Plain and extending south into Yorke and Eyre Peninsulas. Pastoral and agricultural activity has reduced and fragmented this distribution and the wombats are now mainly restricted to the Nullarbor Plain, Gawler Ranges, Upper Western Eyre Peninsula and the Murraylands. Remnant populations also exist elsewhere.
3. The Government currently has no plans to commission a study. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources will continue to provide support to other researchers working on the Southern Hairy-Nosed Wombat and will continue to work in partnership with the Natural Resource Management Boards and conservation groups to further knowledge on the species.