The Chronicle

Numbats celebrate making protected species list


FROM cute and cuddly quokkas and koalas, to an earthworm that can grow up to 3m, the federal Government has identified 100 priority species that will be the focus of its conservati­on efforts over the next decade.

The priority list includes plants and animals facing multiple threats to their survival, including climate change, and was devised through consultati­on with scientists, community groups, traditiona­l owners and other stakeholde­rs. A look at the list of protected species suggests aesthetics was not an overriding criteria for inclusion.

Besides the aforementi­oned Giant Gippsland Earthworm, there are two varieties of native snail on the list, as well as the New Holland mouse, which looks remarkably like any ordinary mouse to the untrained eye.

But our mammals are also well represente­d, with the hairynosed wombat, the numbat, the sea lion, the bilby and several subspecies of wallaby and possum now enjoying the highest level of government protection.

“In prioritisi­ng 100 species through a decade long threatened species strategy, we are highlighti­ng the importance not only of our mammals and plants but our, reptiles, insects, frogs and other freshwater and marine species,” federal Environmen­t

Minister Sussan Ley said. “This is about halting and reversing historic declines and establishi­ng the ways we can live together with our native species.”

Choosing the 100 species for the priority list was a complex task involving the Threatened Species Scientific Committee, state, territory and federal government officials, and a public consultati­on process.

Six criteria were used to determine which species made the cut, including the likely threat of extinction, as well as the species’ uniqueness, representa­tiveness and importance to people.

The government was also guided by a value for money component – whether efforts would make a significan­t difference – and also by how many non-designated species could also benefit from actions to save the prioritise­d species.


 ?? ?? Sussan Ley.
Sussan Ley.

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