- 113 animal species recognised as highest priority in wake of bushfires
- Aussie Ark sanctuaries recognised to have global significance, protecting 14.5% of listed species
- Aussie Ark species and habitat recovery sanctuaries now more critical than ever
On Tuesday 11 February 2020, the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment released a list of 113 animal species that have been identified by experts of the highest priorities for urgent management intervention over the months following the 2019-20 bushfires in Australia.
The 2019-20 bushfires in New South Wales have been unprecedented in their extent and intensity. As of 28 January, the fires in NSW had burnt 5.3 million hectares, which is 6.7% of the entire state, this includes 2.7 million hectares in national parks.
Of the 113 recognised animal species, conservation organisation Aussie Ark provides direct and indirect refuge through species and habitat recovery to 14.5% of the species named. That number swells to 32% when excluding invertebrate and fish species. Conservation action in this decade will determine the fate of many of our country’s unique animals.
Australia is home to more species than any other developed country with most of the nation’s wildlife found nowhere else in the world. Australia also has the worst mammal extinction rate on earth, at least 29 of Australia’s 273 mammal species have gone extinct since European colonization. To put this in a global context, one out of three mammal extinctions in the last 400 years has occurred in Australia. An additional 21% is predicted to go extinct at a rate of one to two species per decade without swift conservation action.
Aussie Ark has a broad focus on preserving endangered and threatened New South Wales native species in the greater Barrington Tops region. The facility is at the epicentre of fire affected habitat situated in the Barrington Tops. The species that Aussie Ark is committed to saving were under threat pre fire, and now have been heavily impacted by recent catastrophic events.
The Barrington Tops region in New South Wales, Australia, is home to more than 15% of all Australian vertebrate species and are renowned as being one of the few places where remnant Antarctic Beech forests remain in New South Wales. The ancient Barrington forests, due to their age and size, are a critical sink for carbon storage and absorption and are one of only seven major temperate rainforests remaining in the world.
Aussie Ark is focused on species recovery with projects already in place to protect the Brush-tailed rock-wallaby Tasmanian devil and several other species. Additionally, the Ark is committed to habitat recovery with projects such as Koala Ark and a series of wild protected sanctuaries. Aussie Ark has secured 7000 hectares of critical habitat to manage and protect well into the future. Ambitiously, they seek to protect 20,000 hectares of land in the Barrington Tops region. This will be achieved through land lease, private land acquisition and the management of state forest.
Aussie Ark is recognised on a global level by organisations such as Global Wildlife Conservation and conservation leaders such Leonardo DiCaprio. However, more is needed. Aussie Ark calls upon corporate, community, government and conservation groups to join them in securing the future for native Australian wildlife.
About Aussie Ark
As a not for profit organisation, Aussie Ark raises the necessary funds to continue its ambitious vision. Investment allows for the construction of captive facilities and predator proof fencing on semi-wild parcels of land. Aussie Ark is a registered environmental organisation and charitable institution under the Australian Charity and Not-for-Profit Commission. Aussie Ark has deductible gift recipient status (DGR status) and is registered for GST purposes. More information at www.aussieark.org.au
Image: Aussie Ark – 1 B Long-nosed Potoroo