Australia will soon have a framework to design a national network of ‘safe havens’ for threatened mammals, following a recent workshop with 24 leading
conservation specialists from federal and state governments, NGOs and academia.
The Government’s Threatened Species Strategy includes a commitment to invest in safe havens for species vulnerable to introduced predators – including five predator-free islands and ten large fenced areas.
The TSR Hub’s research is providing important context for this commitment, by identifying the areas where new safe havens will achieve the greatest population increases for the largest number of threatened mammal species, and reduce the chance of further extinctions.
The approach is based on a framework developed by Jeremy Ringma (University of Queensland), Brendan Wintle (University of Melbourne) and Michael Bode (University of Melbourne).
The approach will also be useful for state governments, NGOs and conservation groups, working at national, state or regional levels, by providing another tool to use in their existing or planned translocation programs.
Predator-free islands and fenced areas are important for native mammal species that are highly susceptible to predation from cats and foxes. However, being able to recover threatened species in the broader landscape is also critical.
This research project will also identify those areas where appropriate environmental management (i.e. fire, cats and foxes) will benefit native species that do not require complete protection from cats and foxes.
The Australian Government Department of the Environment including the Threatened Species Commissioner’s Office, Environmental Resources Information Network and Parks Australia, Threatened Species Recovery Hub, State and Territory environment departments, , Australian Wildlife Conservancy, Bush Heritage and Arid Recovery were all represented at the workshop.
Image: Jim Radford (Bush Heritage) and Michael Bode (University of Melbourne).
The Threatened Species Recovery Hub of the National Environmental Science Program expresses our sympathy to everyone whose life has been impacted by these horrific fires, and acknowledges the heartbreak of families who have lost everything, including loved ones.
Many landscapes in Australia are fire-prone, and increasingly so. Altered fire regimes can have a serious negative impact on threatened plant species and ecological communities. A Threatened Species Recovery Hub project is working to better understand the effects of different fire regimes on threatened flora in order to improve fire management strategies and conservation outcomes.
Almost a quarter of Australia’s possums and gliders are listed as threatened under Australian environmental law, and many more are showing signs of decline. Dr Rochelle Steven from The University of Queensland believes people in the community can do a lot to support conservation, especially in urban areas.
The detection and monitoring of threatened species have been a strong area of research in the National Environmental Science Program and also the two national environmental research programs which preceded it. Hub Director Professor Brendan Wintle takes a look at what we’ve been achieving and why it is so important to the conservation of Australia’s threatened species.
In 2009, the Christmas Island blue-tailed skink and Lister’s gecko were headed for imminent extinction. Parks Australia acted quickly to collect remaining wild individuals in order to establish captive breeding programs on Christmas Island and at Taronga Zoo, Sydney, which have been highly successful. A Threatened Species Recovery Hub project team is working closely with Parks Australia to help secure a future for the two lizards beyond captivity.