Media Releases - 02 March 2021

Minister signs extinction certificates for 13 species

  • Environment Minister Sussan Ley has signed off on the official extinction of 13 species under Australia’s EPBC Act including that of the Christmas Island Pipistrelle and the Christmas Island Forest Skink.
  • The official notice was made public on the Departmental website yesterday without any commentary, media release or proposed response from the Department or the Minister.
  • The Threatened Species Scientific Committee has re-examined the status of Australia’s mammals and determined that 11 mammal species should be declared extinct and that one subspecies that was previously determined to be extinct is actually a full species. This increases the number of extinct Australian mammal full species by 12 from 22 to 34 species. 
  • This latest update cements Australia’s reputation as the mammal extinction capital of the world with 34 extinct mammal species. The next nearest nation is Haiti with 9 extinct mammal species.
The Christmas Island Pipistrelle has been declared officially extinct by the Environment Minister.

Suzanne Milthorpe, the Wilderness Society’s National Environment Laws Campaign Manager provides the following comments on the latest update of Australia’s endangered species list.

“It’s official. 34 mammal species have been lost from Australia and as these species are found nowhere else, we’ve also lost them from the planet and from all of time. There’s not another country, rich or poor, that has anything like this record. 

“Scientists have cast their eye over the ledger of loss and found that we’ve deeply undercounted. Some of these are species that disappeared decades or even a century ago, but with the case of the Christmas Island Pipistrelle, it was last seen in 2009. 

“The Environment Minister shouldn’t need reminders of the problem at hand. Every State of Environment Report shows us what is happening. The recent Samuel Review is yet another reminder. But in signing these extinction certificates the Minister must surely be moved to drive change.

“The Samuel Review provides a template for reform that makes a sizeable improvement on the status quo and was clearly designed in a way that it could be implemented by a conservative government. The Morrison Government has a roadmap of reform that came from their handpicked reviewer and is ready to go. 

“But unfortunately, we haven’t seen a full response to the Review from the Morrison Government yet, only a disjointed attempt to devolve their environmental responsibilities to the states. Without the full package Samuel made clear that extinction and a decline of our iconic natural areas will continue. We deeply hope that this latest warning from nature and scientists is one that will be acted upon,” Suzanne Milthorpe concluded.

For more information please contact Suzanne Milthorpe on 0408 582396 or Tim Beshara on 04378 78786