Australia given 'worst possible score' for extinction prevention

·Environment Editor
·2-min read

While it’s well-known that Australia has the worst mammalian extinction record on Earth, environmentalists have worked to evaluate whether the nation's conservation efforts are improving.

According to the report's authors, the results were “alarming”, but unsurprising.

Analysing available data on threatened species, World Wide Fund for Nature-Australia (WWF) has given the country its 'worst possible score'.

Australia has been given an F grade for its efforts to recover threatened species. Source: Amy Wregg / WWF-Australia
Australia has been given an F grade for its efforts to recover threatened species. Source: Amy Wregg / WWF-Australia

The charity admonished the nation for “failing in the recovery of threatened species” and dealt it an overall grade of F on its report card.

Released on National Threatened Species Day, the F grade caps off what's been an embarrassing 2022 for the country.

Despite koalas being uplisted to endangered and greater gliders declared vulnerable to extinction, bulldozing of their habitat has continued to be approved.

The lesser-known south-eastern glossy black cockatoo and mountain skink have also been added to Australia's growing list of over 1900 threatened species and ecological communities.

What the threatened species report authors analysed

  • Proportion of species with a recovery plan

  • Proportion of species with federal funding

  • Proportion of habitat protected

  • Proportion of species with an improved threat status

Extinction: How does Australia compare to the US?

Using a new method of analysis, the charity was particularly scathing of Australia’s efforts to recover species facing extinction.

Bald eagles were once listed as endangered in the United States but have since recovered. Source: Getty
Bald eagles were once listed as endangered in the United States but have since recovered. Source: Getty

While the United States has achieved the delisting of 39 previously threatened species, over the last 22 years Australia has managed to improve the status of just 11.

Co-lead author Dr Michelle Ward highlighted a lack of dedicated funding to help threatened species as a key concern, adding habitat protection efforts aren’t actually helping species recover.

“This is off the back of 200 years worth of degradation and no real effort from the federal government to improve their outcomes,” she told Yahoo News Australia.

She said the report is not designed to embarrass anyone, but rather “galvanise action”.

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