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Australian Mammalogy Australian Mammalogy Society
Journal of the Australian Mammal Society

Mainland broad-toothed rat (Mastacomys fuscus mordicus) recovery after wildfire

Martin Schulz A * , Catriona D Campbell B and Mellesa Schroder B
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A 2-8 Buttenshaw Drive, Coledale, NSW 2515, Australia.

B Southern Ranges Branch, NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service, PO Box 2228, Jindabyne, NSW 2627, Australia.

* Correspondence to:

Handling Editor: Ross Goldingay

Australian Mammalogy 46, AM23030
Submitted: 15 June 2023  Accepted: 23 September 2023  Published: 19 October 2023

© 2024 The Author(s) (or their employer(s)). Published by CSIRO Publishing on behalf of the Australian Mammal Society.


Wildfires are considered a major risk to the threatened broad-toothed rat (Mastacomys fuscus mordicus), a native murid rodent. Kosciuszko National Park is an important stronghold for the species, raising concern regarding the impact of the 2019–20 fires on populations occurring in this area. Sixty-two burnt sites known to be occupied by the species in 2016–17 were revisited. One year after the fires, little evidence of the broad-toothed rat was found, with its distinctive scats located at just 8% of sites. All these sites had some unburnt vegetation present. In contrast, 80.4% of 51 unburnt sites had evidence of the broad-toothed rat in both the pre- and post-fire surveys. Two years following the fire, scats were found at 42% of burnt sites, predominantly occurring within grassland (n = 23), with three in forested habitat. Three years following the fire, the scats were detected in 66% of sites, comprising 30 in grassland, 11 in forested gully and the first in lower slope shrubland. Based on the recovery trajectory, it is likely that in subsequent years (with the absence of fire or the adequate management of other competing threats) all remaining previously occupied sites may be re-populated.

Keywords: Black Summer bushfires, broad-toothed rat, Kosciuszko National Park, landscape, post-fire survey, threatened species, tussock-grass.


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