Delivering Australia's Threatened Species Strategy - three years on

28 June 2019

(Issued by Department of the Environment and Energy)

Department of the Environment and Energy
Office of the Threatened Species Commissioner


Today sees the release of the Year Three Report of the Australian Government’s Threatened Species Strategy.

Australia’s five year Threatened Species Strategy, launched in 2015, has a range of actions to tackle one of the main threats to our wildlife – feral cats – as well as prioritising 20 mammals, 20 birds and 30 plants for recovery. Australia’s Threatened Species Commissioner Dr Sally Box said the report shows our collective actions are making a difference and that good progress has been made against the ambitious targets set out in the Threatened Species Strategy.

“I’m pleased that six birds and eight mammals have improved their trajectories since 2015,” Dr Box said. “We have more Norfolk Island Green Parrots, Mallee Emu-wrens have been successfully translocated back to South Australia, and emergency feral cat baiting has helped to reduce the extinction risk of the Central Rock-rat in the Northern Territory.”

“Also more than 18 million hectares of feral cat control has been undertaken since 2015. We had a target of five million hectares under the Strategy to meet by this time, so exceeding this target demonstrates Australians’ resolve to tackle this key threat.”

The report also shows that over 61 percent of Australia’s known threatened plant species are now stored in Australian Seed Bank Partnership seedbanks, providing an important insurance policy for the future.

Of the 21 year three targets, 11 were met, four were partially met and six targets were not met.

“Even where targets were not met, in almost all cases good progress was made. For example, research from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology estimates 844,000 feral cats have been culled since the Strategy began, falling just short of our target of one million,” Dr Box said.

“Threatened species recovery is a complex, long-term proposition. I would like to thank the many organisations and individuals who have contributed to these outcomes – scientists, not-for-profits, Indigenous rangers, park agencies and governments at all levels.

“I particularly want to give a shout out to all the volunteers and citizen scientists in our community who are out there every weekend, weeding and removing rubbish, counting and recording our birds, plants and animals.

“National stocktakes such as this report provide useful data for all of us to adapt our management techniques where required, while clearly demonstrating what we have delivered on. While there is more work to be done to meet all the targets we have set ourselves, this report helps inform where to focus our future efforts.”

Highlights from the Year Three Report include:

In the Kakadu National Park region, effective fire management by Warddeken and Djelk Indigenous rangers alongside park managers has resulted in improved habitat conditions, benefitting the White-throated Grass-wren.

Norfolk Island’s Green Parrot numbers have more than doubled compared to its pre-2015 numbers, with park rangers managing invasive rodents and securing nest sites.

The introduction of an Australian Government funded tracking app has helped Indigenous rangers digitally record and map wildlife tracks in our remoter country. Evidence from this has led to the discovery that Bilby distribution is wider than once thought.

We’ve successfully translocated Mallee Emu-wrens back to South Australia after a devastating fire wiped out their original population. The re-establishment of this population significantly reduces the risk of their extinction.

Translocating the one of the world’s rarest mammals, the Gilbert’s Potoroo, to Middle Island, Western Australia, in 2018, has helped to safeguard this species against extinction.

Emergency intervention through feral-cat baiting around some of the last refuges of the Central Rock-rat, found at the heart of our country, has helped prevent this critically endangered mammal from going extinct.

We are increasing the population of Banksia vincentia, from a population of 14 plants in the wild, to over 520 individual plants, thanks to a new in-ground seed orchard at Booderee National Park.