News - 08 August 2018

We can end the extinctions

Fate of Australia's wildlife is in our hands
PHOTO: The fate of Australia's wildlife is in our hands | Dan Fellow
Australia leads the world in mammal extinctions—nowhere else on Earth is killing off their mammal species faster than we are. Since 2000, the number of Australia's threatened species has increased by over 30%. A key reason for the loss of plants and animals is land clearing and deforestation. Since European colonisation, about 104 million hectares (44% of Australia's land area) has been cleared of vegetation. The State of the Environment 2016 Report found species continuing to decline. 

What's happening in Australia is happening around the world and has been widely described as a mass extinction crisis. A report by WWF estimated two-thirds of the world's wildlife could be gone by 2020. 

Now, the Australian Senate has launched an inquiry to find out more about the extinction crisis in Australia, specifically about how it's affecting animal wildlife, and what we can do about it. Shamefully, for example, Australia has the highest rate of mammal extinction in the world. 

The inquiry is looking at:

  • whether Australia’s laws are working to protect our animals and their habitat;
  • how effective other protections like national parks and Indigenous Protected Areas are; and
  • whether enough money and resources is going into recovery efforts.

This is an opportunity to take a stand against extinction. We can and must live with human endeavours happening alongside thriving ecosystems, not dying ecosystems.

Take action now

The deadline is 10 September.

Here’s a background document summarising key points about Australia’s extinction crisis. You can use this as a basis for your submission.

For people and organisations with threatened species expertise, here are some additional points.

From talking with inquiry members, we know that unique and personal submissions from you will have an impact. You don’t need to be an expert or write an essay; just write a line or two about why you want to end extinction in Australia, including any stories that show why you care. 

You can also read and share the Wilderness Society’s submission to the Senate inquiry (it will be uploaded here shortly).