On World Wildlife Day, the Australian Government is proud to announce that funding for projects to protect our threatened species has now topped $190 million.
“We are honouring our commitment to the world’s wildlife with a large and growing investment to conserve Australia’s native animals and plants, as well as strict requirements to protect listed species overseas from illegal trade,” Minister Hunt said.
“Since 2014, we have funded hundreds of projects to protect and restore the bush and its wildlife through the Green Army, 20 Million Trees, National Landcare Programme, National Environmental Science Programme and our Commonwealth parks estate.”
“We have set hard, measurable targets out to 2020 for at-risk species under the nation’s first Threatened Species Strategy.”
“We appointed Australia’s first Threatened Species Commissioner to guide our investment in projects benefitting threatened species. And today we have more reason than ever to celebrate our early successes from work underway in the field.”
“For example, in Victoria’s Yellingbo and nearby reserves, 650,000 trees are being planted to extend habitat for the critically endangered helmeted honeyeater and Leadbeater’s possum.”
“In the ACT, the predator-proof home for the eastern bettong, New Holland mouse and the eastern quoll at Mulligan’s Flat Woodland Sanctuary is being expanded.”
“On Norfolk Island, an expansion of the rat baiting programme has contributed to a doubling in the number of green parrot fledglings reported in 2014-15 compared to the previous year.”
“Action is also underway to tackle the feral cat, a key threat to our small mammals, birds and reptiles.”
“In NSW’s Kosciuszko National Park, more mountain pygmy-possums have been sighted and new koonoom populations have been found as a result of a new detector dog programme that has already removed dozens of feral cats and foxes in high conservation areas.”
“In Western Australia, emergency baiting of feral cats has occurred across nearly 150,000 hectares to help protect the Gilbert’s potoroo and the western ground parrot in their fire-ravaged habitat.”
“In South Australia’s Flinders Ranges, 115 feral cats have been removed, allowing as many as 250 western quolls to re-establish in the area.”
“On Christmas Island, the first island-wide ‘Eradicat’ feral cat baiting has been completed, with over 16,000 baits deployed through the forest between June and October 2015,” Minister Hunt said.
Threatened Species Commissioner Gregory Andrew said the theme of this year’s World Wildlife Day – “the future of wildlife is in our hands” – resonates with many Australians.
“Since my appointment in 2014, I’ve seen so many communities embrace threatened species in their region, and such positive results from their efforts on the ground,” Mr Andrews said.
“Today’s a great day to recognise their work and to challenge the rest of us to match them. We all have a role to play in saving our native species.”
As an international leader in the fight against wildlife crime, Australia protects heavily poached and trafficked species by prohibiting imports such as new elephant, rhinoceros and whale products and lion hunting trophies.
The plight of such species is a key global focus for this year’s World Wildlife Day.
The day commemorates the signing of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, a global agreement amongst 182 countries, including Australia, to protect biodiversity through the regulation of trade in wildlife.