Fauna of Tasmania's Wilderness World Heritage Area

Eastern pygmyflyEastern pygmyfly (Nannophya dalei)
The Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (WHA) plays a central role in the conservation of Tasmania’s unique fauna. At 1.58 million hectares of largely pristine wilderness, the WHA provides a large and contiguous area for natural processes to occur. The area supports a number of habitats which are either unique in a world context or which reach their greatest development within the WHA. These include vast undulating tracts of buttongrass moorlands, the harsh and austere worlds of the alpine and subalpine zones, a truly bewildering diversity of highland lakes and tarns, and labyrinthine caves. The WHA also supports pockets of Tasmania’s ancient cool temperate rainforest, with its age-old Gondwanan trees and ferns, mossy vaults and secret animal life beneath the canopy.

Although the world heritage fauna values of the WHA are well documented (WHA Nomination 1989), ​​​there has been no inventory of fauna species and how well these species are protected. This information is valuable for assessing the conservation status of species and the contribution the WHA makes towards fauna conservation in Tasmania. This information is also useful for monitoring the effectiveness of fauna management. For example, monitoring changes in the number of native and exotic species in the WHA over time can give an indication of how the condition of the WHA may be changing. These changes may be a result of the introduction or eradication of exotic species, extinction of native species or changes in knowledge of species distribution or taxonomy.

The accurate inventorying of species in a particular area is a key first step in conserving both specified taxa, as well as in the long term conservation of biodiversity. For the vertebrate fauna, the inventory is reasonably reliable and complete. Inventories of invertebrates are necessarily both incomplete and constantly changing, as new species are unearthed and old systems of classification are revised and replaced. Nevertheless, compiling an inventory of an invertebrate fauna has three powerful benefits:
(1) it summarises and centralises the current knowledge base
(2) it provides a platform from which to design and implement further survey and taxonomic work
(3) it highlights taxa, areas and habitats which are particularly poorly known

See also other information on this site describing WHA vertebrates and WHA invertebrates.

Anyone interested in adding new vertebrate records or updating the current lists, please contact:


WHA Zoologist

Michael Driessen
134 Macquarie Street,
Hobart, TAS, 7000.
Fax: 03 6233 3477