The word extinction means the permanent loss of a species, and the reason why it happens is due to one of multiple impacts. Sometimes extinction is a natural process that serves to create a new species through evolution. However more often than not extinction happens as a result of humanity, through means such as habitat loss, modification of the environment, spread of invasive species or diseases, and climate change.
In recent years the earth has bid a sad goodbye to species in every major animal group, including animals like the Baiji Dolphin, the Japanese River Otter, the Christmas Island Pipistrelle, the Alaotra Grebe, and more recently the Pinta Island Tortoise who saw the passing of its last member on June 24, 2012. Sadly many more species hang on by mere threads, and one of the direst examples is the situation involving Australia’s wildlife, including marsupials unique to the continent!
Despite being one of the six most biodiverse nations on Earth, Australia’s records for extinction rank among the worst in the world. In fact, when it comes to mammals alone, no other continent, much less single country, compares to such a tragic status regarding extinction. Here are some current facts about extinction within Australia, but keep in mind that the problem grows worse daily.
- Australia has bid farewell to 27 mammals over the past 200 years.
- More reptiles in Australia are in danger of becoming extinct than those native to any other country or continent.
- Nearly 15% of all birds native to Australia are threatened with becoming extinct.
- When it comes to vascular plants, over 500 species are listed as either endangered or vulnerable.
Of all the mammals, reptiles, and flowering plants in the continent, 80% are endemic to Australia, meaning they are not found anywhere else in the world. If they become extinct, there is no chance of the species cropping up elsewhere on the planet. Sanctuaries across the country work to protect the native wildlife and their diverse ecosystems. Without these animals, humans would have a rough time surviving on the planet, so it is important that everyone become involved in wildlife conservation!
One way that you can contribute to wildlife conservation is through support of the Australian Wildlife Conservancy. This organisation conducts research and performs measures such as feral animal control, fire management, habitat mapping, weed control, threatened species reintroductions to re-establish endangered species on the mainland, vital biodiversity research, and more at sanctuaries across the country.
The best way to learn wildlife conservation is by attending Reptile Encounters programs. Our friendly, highly-trained wildlife ambassadors not only handle exotic creatures with expert care, but they also share their genuine love of wildlife and passion for wildlife conservation through fun shows that educate the public.