Research shows local risks
Ten Australian birds and seven mammals are likely to become extinct over the next twenty years, if current management continues.
New research suggests these extinctions could be prevented if conservation managers and the community are more aware of the risk these species face, and managers are able to respond effectively and rapidly.
“Identifying the species at greatest risk of extinction is a crucial first step in avoiding their extinctions,” said research co-leader Professor Woinarski from Charles Darwin University.
“The fate of these species depends upon support from governments and communities, and public interest, awareness and involvement.
“Some of our other research recently published has compiled case studies of successful conservation for almost 50 Australian threatened species, so we know it can be done when the commitment is there.”
The new study draws together many types of evidence, including assessments by about 30 independent experts.
The results identify both the birds and mammals at greatest risk of extinction and also an estimate of their likelihood of extinction within the next 20 years if there is no increase in management effort or effectiveness.
The most at risk Australian bird is the tiny King Island brown thornbill, which – under its current low level of conservation care – has little more than a 5 per cent chance of surviving the next 20 years.
Ten birds have a fifty-fifty or greater chance of becoming extinct, including the orange-bellied parrot, western ground parrot, plains-wanderer, regent honeyeater and herald petrel.
Most at risk birds are on islands or in the more intensely developed parts of southern Australia.
The central rock-rat is the most at risk mammal with an estimated 65 per cent likelihood of becoming extinct in the next 20 years. The risk for the northern hopping-mouse is about 50 per cent, and 25 per cent for Perth’s western ringtail possum.
The mammals at risk are widespread, but many occur in northern Australia, an area currently witnessing a rapid and severe decline in mammals generally.
To avoid extinction each species will require individual targeted action, investment and collaboration among governments, non-government organisations and the private sector to mitigate threats and support recovery.