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Main » Articles » ISSUE #4 » Ecology

Australian Endangered Species
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.

Habitat 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.

Today 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.

People 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.

The 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.

High prices from overseas collectors encourage the smuggling of many unique and colourful Australian animals such as the golden-shouldered parrot.

Little 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 small seabird.

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.

Clearing and grazing have greatly reduced the number of peninsula guinea flowers (Hibbertia paeninsu-laris) on the Eyre Peninsula, South Australia.

Feral 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.

Foxes 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.

Rabbits 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.
Category: Ecology | Added by: Chuda (25-Nov-2011) | Author: Sergey Papushin
Views: 3798 | Comments: 5 | Tags: Sergey Papushin, australia, Endangered Species | Rating: 4.9/8
Total comments: 3
3 Julia  
The article makes us thinking about a huge damage caused to Australian fauna. We must take care of wild plants and animals which aren`t just in Australia but on the planet and save it because the nature is our home.

2 gretagolden73  
Australia is considered to be the only place on Earth with unique prehistoric animals. And it's a real pity that even there it's becoming impossible to preserve them.

1 Larisa  
This article gives the reader a perfect chance to think once again about the value of being aware and it can also be a great source of new vocabulary connected with Australian fauna.

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