September 7 is National Threatened Species Day in Australia. The date commemorates the death of the last known thylacine (or Tasmanian tiger, Thylacinus cynocephalus) in 1936.Thylacines are believed to have been driven to extinction predominantly by hunting, and habitat destruction, disease also believed to have played a role. Did you know the forests of Krushka’s have a historical recording of a Thylacine recorded in the Tas governments Natural Values Atlas (NVA) biodiversity database?
Since 1936, other species have followed the Tassie tiger down the extinction path; National Threatened Species Day encourages us to reflect on this, and think about how to protect our unique Australian fauna and flora into the future. More importantly to act to halt the decline of our unique native species and their habitat.
Australia has over half a million native species of fauna and flora, many of which are unique to our country (endemic). Endemic species include iconic mammal groups such as the monotremes (platypus and echidna); marsupials (which includes the Spotted tail quoll and Tasmanian devil); distinct Tasmanian bird species (including Tasmanian wedge tail eagle and Tasmanian masked owl) and of course the many species of eucalypts, orchids and other native flora and fungi.
The threatened forests of Krushka’s, Atlas, and the rest of the Gondwana native forests, of north east Tasmania are home to these Rare, Threatened and Endangered (RTE) species listed above. We need your help to record them and be part of the community effort to protect our forests, and threatened species. Join our on ground citizen science surveys to do the flora, fauna and fungi surveys STT have failed to do, and build a case for protecting our forests.
The extinction crisis in Australia is not just confined to mammals (birds, amphibians, reptiles, invertebrates and plants are also suffering from extinction or decline), but mammals are a useful group to focus on simply because people are more likely to notice when a mammal species disappears. Australia is one of the world’s leaders in mammal extinctions. Since European settlement, approximately 10% of our 273 endemic terrestrial mammals have gone extinct. Many more endemic mammal species are also threatened with extinction. For comparison, North America has only had one terrestrial mammal species go extinct since its European settlement.
Why are we losing our native animals? Similar to other continents, species are losing habitat due logging and inappropriate development. The overall loss of habitat reduces the number of individuals that are able to survive due to the reduction in suitable habitat. The remaining habitat is often fragmented, meaning that populations can become more isolated, eventually reducing genetic diversity and increasing the chance of problems due to inbreeding. Individuals are also more likely to be killed while moving from one fragmented area to another to find a mate or new food source, as they are more likely to be hit by traffic or attacked by predators.
We can’t say we don’t know the impact of logging on our native species and ecosystems. It’s time to put that knowledge into action and protect our Gondwana native forests and biodiversity. They are worth more standing.