Australia State Sets Target for Zero Species Extinctions on National Threatened Species Day

By Epoch Times Sydney Staff
Epoch Times Sydney Staff
Epoch Times Sydney Staff
September 8, 2021 Updated: September 8, 2021

Koalas, rock wallabies, and a rare tree will be included in the list of 92 endangered and iconic species, which will be protected under a new New South Wales (NSW) National Parks plan that has set a target to stop species going extinct in Australia’s state’s national parks.

NSW Minister for the Environment Matt Kean said the National Parks and Wildlife Service’s (NPWS) Threatened Species Framework is about protecting and improving the health of threatened and iconic species for future generations.

“Australia has the worst mammal extinction rate in the world,” Kean said. “Today in New South Wales, on Threatened Species Day, we say no more.”

“Globally, one million species face extinction over the coming decades, and as international biodiversity negotiations continue, everyone needs to aim high.”

Measures being implemented to protect threatened species on national parks will include acquiring habitats of key threatened species habitat, which will be added to the national park estate.

The NPWS will also work to establish a network of feral predator-free areas to support the return of more than 25 locally extinct species.

Falling on Sept. 7, the National Threatened Species Day was declared in 1996 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the death of the last remaining Tasmanian tiger (also known as the thylacine) at Hobart Zoo in 1936. It is commemorated across Australia to raise awareness of native plants and animals that are on the brink of extinction.

A wallaby eats a carrot after NSW's National Parks and Wildlife Service staff air-dropped them in bushfire-stricken areas around Wollemi and Yengo National Parks, New South Wales, Australia January 11, 2020
A wallaby eats a carrot in areas around Wollemi and Yengo National Parks, New South Wales, Australia, on Jan. 11, 2020. (NSW DPIE Environment, Energy and Science/Handout via Reuters)

The new plan declares 221 sites as Assets of Intergenerational Significance (AIS) across 110 national parks in regions including Port Macquarie, Wentworth Falls, the Upper Nepean and the Nightcap Ranges, north of Lismore, with 30 around Greater Sydney and 37 south of Canberra.

“These Assets of Intergenerational Significance (AIS) declarations are a game-changer for threatened species, triggering the strongest possible legal protections—mandating conservation plans, targeted feral animal control, bespoke fire management, and monitoring and reporting,” Kean said.

The new AIS are home to species at risk from feral animals, bushfires, and environmental change. They also follow the first AIS declaration earlier this year to protect the ancient Wollemi pines, a “dinosaur tree” that was the first species given the special status.

The 92 new species to attain AIS status include 65 plant species and 27 animal species (13 mammals, 4 birds, 7 frogs, and 3 reptiles). Some feature species are the brush-tailed rock-wallaby, koala, dwarf mountain pine, and nightcap oak.

An interactive map of all Assets of Intergenerational Significance sites can be found here.