Issue 2
Monday, 26 March 2018
Charles Darwin University
E-news
Through public advocacy and international diplomacy, Australia has protected its humpback whale populations. Photo: Whit Welles
Through public advocacy and international diplomacy, Australia has protected its humpback whale populations. Photo: Whit Welles

No species too ugly to save

No species is too small, too ugly or too remote to save, a national review of almost 50 examples of threatened species recovery in Australia has found.

The review titled “Recovering Australian Threatened Species: A Book of Hope” was led by the Threatened Species Recovery Hub of the Australian Government’s National Environmental Science Programme.

Spiny plants, insects on rocky outcrops in the ocean, and lizards hiding in spider holes were among the stories of success for threatened species, along with humpback whales, a donkey orchid, black cockatoos, western swamp tortoises and the mountain pygmy possum.

Research leader from Charles Darwin University Professor Stephen Garnett said these successful projects were inspirational and offered many lessons.

“The most important message we can take from these examples is that the recovery of Australian threatened species can be accomplished,” Professor Garnett said.

“It was also pleasing to see that charismatic species like bilbies and koalas are not the only ones that attract public support. All species can be successfully recovered if there is adequate leadership, support and commitment.”

Co-researcher, CDU Professor John Woinarski said the assessment found that community involvement was one of the most important factors leading to success in the case studies.
 
“Without doubt, even more Australian species would be extinct today were it not for the voluntary and enduring effort of thousands of people,” Professor Woinarski said.

“Across the country individuals and groups have contributed in many ways, such as propagating plants, controlling weeds, supplementary feeding of wildlife, nest monitoring and pest eradication.”

He said recovery had involved many players and many tools.

“Commonwealth, State and Territory governments have played a major role, as have resourcing, policy, law, advocacy, research, monitoring, conservation reserves and management,” Professor Woinarski said.
 
“Through public advocacy and international diplomacy, Australia has protected its humpback whale populations from commercial whaling for more than half a century.

“This is an example that where there’s a will; today’s generations can find ways to undo the near-catastrophic damage of the past.”