CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA — More than 20 South Australian animal and plant species will now be listed as endangered to the brink of extinction in recent years.
The Environment Department wants 30 species to be listed as one of the three rankings –“rare”, “vulnerable” or “endangered”– for the first time.
Of the 30, 21 will be given “endangered” status – the most severe classification which is reserved for species on the brink of extinction.
The animals that will be newly-listed as endangered following a period of expert feedback are the Kangaroo Island Echidna and about 10 species of birds.
“Changes to the conservation category of species can occur for a variety of reasons, including new knowledge, improved assessments, changes in scientific classification of species, or changes in the numbers or distribution of these species,” said Jason Higham, an expert from the Environment Department, according to the report of News Corp Australia on Wednesday.
In the worst example of population decline the Great Knot, a small bird, has had its SA numbers cut by 80 percent over three generations while that of the Red Knot has declined by 60 percent.
However, some other species – such as the Eastern Grey Kangaroo, previously rare, Swamp Wallaby, previously vulnerable, and Slender-billed Thornbill, also rare – will be removed from the list altogether after recovering.
A Senate inquiry into Australia’s faunal extinction crisis in April released its interim report, warning that the current approach was “incapable” of stopping the current rate of extinction.
The report recommended a “complete overhaul” of Australia’s conservation laws.
The South Australian Government earlier in July announced that it would become the first state in Australia to ban plastic straws, cutlery and drink stirrers in order to protect the environment.