Australian Census Reveals Scale of Extinction Threat

A new study published in Australia; “Nature of Living Species in Australia and the World”, suggests that almost 1% of the world’s 1.9 million recorded species are threatened, including 9.2% of major vertebrate species. The report was launched yesterday by the Australian Environment Minister, Peter Garrett, and was described by the Australian Government as ‘the only report in the world to document the planet’s known animal and plant species’.

The report shows that 87% of Australia’s mammals and 93% of its reptiles are endemic, found nowhere else in the world. However, in launching the report, the Minister acknowledged that more needed to be done to identify, record and conserve Australia’s biodiversity, stating that “[scientists] need this essential information to do a better job of managing…biodiversity against the threats of invasive species, habitat loss and climate change”.

Sir David Attenborough released a statement in support of the report, praising its contribution to the identification and naming of species and the fundamental step that represented in the path towards species conservation. “The identification and naming of species is the very foundation of the natural sciences. Unless we can be certain of exactly what organism we are considering, we cannot protect it, still less understand it. Listing species is the beginning of that essential process”, he said.

The report said that 20% of mammals were endangered globally, as were 12% percent of birds and 29% of amphibians. Almost 5% of reptiles were considered threatened, along with 4% of fish species.

Download the report at the website of the Australian Biological Resource Study