Australia is one of the most important nations on Earth for biodiversity. In fact, Australia is one of only 17 “megadiverse” nations and is home to more species than any other developed country.
Most of Australia’s wildlife is found nowhere else in the world, making its conservation even more important. 87% of our mammal species, 93% of reptiles, 94% of frogs and 45% of our bird species are found only in Australia.
Sadly, however, Australia is facing an extinction crisis. Australia has the worst mammal extinction rate in the world: 30 native mammals have become extinct since European settlement. To put this in a global context, 1 out of 3 mammal extinctions in the last 400 years have occurred in Australia.
More than 1,700 species of animals and plants are listed by the Australian Government as being at risk of extinction. Around 30% of our surviving (non-bat) mammal species are threatened with extinction.
The primary factors causing this loss of wildlife include:
- Feral cats and foxes. For example, feral cats kill an estimated 75 million native animals every night across Australia.
- Feral herbivores including pigs, goats, rabbits, donkeys, horses, camels, buffalo and feral cattle.
- Changes in fire regimes, especially an increase in the extent and severity of wildfires.
- Clearing native vegetation.
Clearly, “business as usual” for conservation in Australia will mean
AWC is therefore developing and implementing a new model for conservation, with a strong emphasis on practical land management informed by good science.