The Rangeland Journal The Rangeland Journal Society
Rangeland ecology and management

The original mammal fauna and some information on the original bird fauna of Uluru National Park, Northern Territory.

A Baynes and RF Baird

The Rangeland Journal 14(2) 92 - 106
Published: 1992


Investigation of mammal bones, accumulated mainly by owls, from four cave deposits, combined with observations and museum records, has revealed an original (i.e. immediately pre-European) fauna for Uluru National Park (UNP) of 34 species of native ground mammals and 12 species of bats. This fauna comprises one monotreme, 22 marsupials from eight families, 12 microchiropterans from four families, 10 murid rodents and the dingo. For six of the species the UNP records represent an extension of range over published distribution maps, though originally all the ground mammals were probably widespread in the arid zone. A recent survey found that the present fauna of UNP includes 15 native ground mammals and a minimum of seven bats, indicating a loss in about the last century of up to 19 species of ground mammals and at least one bat. The local status of three of these is uncertain, 10 appear to be locally extinct, two are extinct throughout the Australian mainland and five are probably totally extinct. As elsewhere in the arid zone, the mammals that survive are the largest and smallest species and the echidna. The cave deposit sites yielded two orders of magnitude fewer bird remains, some of which could not be identified below family or genus. The material includes at least 16 species representing 13 families. All identified species were recorded in the present fauna of UNP by the recent survey. This relatively small sample suggests that in non-pastoral areas of the arid zone, bird faunas, unlike mammals, have so far survived European colonisation of Australia without loss of diversity.

© ARS 1992

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