Conservation

The pattern of endangerment among the carnivorous marsupials is consistent with that for Australian mammals in gen-

The fat-tailed pseudantechinus (Pseudantechinus macdonnellensis) is a carnivorous marsupial. (Photo by B. G. Thomson/Photo Researchers, Inc. Reproduced by permission.)

eral. Australia accounts for 50% of the world's recent mammalian extinctions, the causes of which are multiple and confounded. Causes include habitat destruction, fragmentation, and degradation resulting from land clearance, altered fire regimes, and grazing by introduced livestock and rabbits, and vulnerability to predation by introduced foxes. Dasyurids track the overall mammalian pattern, in which extinctions and declines have been greatest in arid areas and in medium-sized terrestrial species. An exception to this is the thylacine, which has the distinction of being the only large carnivore globally to become extinct in recent times. The loss of the thylacine represents not just a species but also an entire genus and a family extirpated.

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