Australia fails to monitor its threatened wildlife species
When we hear that a federal government has listed a wildlife species as endangered, most of us probably hope that people will start looking after those remaining animals. But a recent audit in Australia revealed a failure to monitor the country’s endangered wildlife.
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How are the numbat, woylie, mountain pygmy-possum and black-flanked rock-wallaby doing? Who knows? The auditor found that most species aren’t being monitored, and there’s little evidence that anybody is implementing conservation plans.
The Australian National Audit Office found that since 2013, only 2% of recovery plans had been drafted and finalized by the legal deadlines. The average time it took? Almost six and a half years. Out of 55 listed habitats and species with recovery plans, only one had met its due date.
The audit “starkly reveals how Australia’s key piece of environmental legislation is failing our unique threatened species,” said Sophie Power, the national biodiversity policy adviser at the Australian Conservation Foundation, as reported by The Guardian.
Australia has a fabulous array of animals and plants found nowhere else on Earth. Already, 100 have gone extinct since Europeans colonized the enormous island in 1788 — a higher number of species than in any other country. Currently, endangered wildlife species include the numbat, a termite-eating marsupial that hides in hollow logs at night to evade predators, and the critically endangered and extremely colorful orange-bellied parrot. The purple-crowned fairy-wren, a jewel of a bird, has also lost habitat to humans and is preyed upon by black rats and feral cats.
The report shows how much environmental protection is needed, said Alexia Wellbelove of the Humane Society International. “The failure to monitor the status of most species is incredibly concerning, made even more so by the total failure to monitor the status of ecological communities and key threatening processes,” Wellbelove said, as reported in The Guardian.