No one will ever see a paradise parrot fly across the sky again. Paradise parrots
are extinct. Extinction is forever. Since 1788, when the first European
settlers came to Australia, thirty species of mammals and birds and
about 100 species of plants have become extinct.
57 species of mammals, birds, reptiles, frogs and fish, many hundreds of species of invertebrates, and 210 plants are thought to be endangered and could become
extinct within ten to twenty years. The main cause of extinction, as
the scientists presume, is the destruction of habitats. A habitat
contains everything that a living thing needs to survive: space, light,
water, food and shelter.
destruction may occur when vegetation is cleared for agriculture,
cities, mines or roads. It can also occur when swamps are drained or
rivers are damped to store water. About fifty species of introduced
animals live in wild in Australia. These animals prey on native animals
or compete with them for food and shelter.
we have a far greater understanding of the threats our wildlife faces
than did the early settlers. Yet, we are still creating additional threats
such as urban and industrial development, pollution, and pet and fur
trade. Parrots, for example, are illegally transported overseas. Often
the parrots cannot adapt to the new environment and die.
are the only animals with the power to save endangered species. The
question is: why save a species? Without a variety of species, Earth
may not be inhabitable by humankind. Plants and animals help to
maintain the chemical balance of the atmosphere. Forests help to
regulate water supplies. Plants and animals help to make soil. They
provide food and control pests and diseases. They all provide a constant
source of wonder and enjoyment.
Below you can find some facts about animals that lived in Australia and disappeared and some that have become endangered.
last toolache wallaby was seen in 1927. It is presumed that this animal
became extinct through a combination of habitat clearing for farming
and sport shooting.
prices from overseas collectors encourage the smuggling of many unique
and colourful Australian animals such as the golden-shouldered parrot.
terns nest in colonies along beaches where they are easily disturbed
by people, off-road vehicles and dogs. Wildlife agencies and volunteers
fence off the nest sites and patrol the beaches to help protect this
Habitat loss and fishing have decreased the number of fish such as Western Trout Minnow in the Murray Darling River system or Grey nurse shark.
and grazing have greatly reduced the number of peninsula guinea flowers
(Hibbertia paeninsu-laris) on the Eyre Peninsula, South Australia.
cats are found throughout Australia. They kill many animals including
small mammals, birds, frogs, reptiles and insects. Cats threaten the
only mainland population of bandicoot in the state of Victoria.
are partly responsible for the decline in numbers of brush-tailed
bettongs, plains wanderers and other ground-dwelling animals. Introduced
to Australia in the 1860's, foxes now occur throughout most of
Australia. Where they are absent, in Tasmania and tropical Australia,
the loss of small mammals has been less.
have been amongst the most destructive of all introduced animals. They
occur across Australia, except in the tropics. They have permanently
damaged large parts of arid Australia by overgrazing. As well as eating
the more palatable grasses, rabbits will even ringbark shrubs and trees.