One-third of Australia’s threatened species were left unmonitored, with warnings that they could quickly go extinct. The first national assessment of threatened birds, mammals, frogs, freshwater fish, reptiles, and ecological communities found that 217 species were not carefully watched. The evaluation did not include plants and birds.
The Threatened Species Recovery Hub, which is a government-funded organization, said that the results were poor on most of the animal groups. It added that keeping track of birds is better because of the large, enthusiastic volunteer base. Half of the threatened fish are also unmonitored, and tracking reptiles were “a little better.”
Project leader Sarah Legge says that when left unmonitored, the species could be at risk. She added that “By the time we realize we have a problem, it may be too late to act. Many people do not appreciate how vital monitoring is for all aspects of managing threatened biodiversity.”. Without enough monitoring, researchers will have no idea if populations were going up or down, what was causing changes, or whether measures for conservation need to be adopted.
The warning followed after a study by the same group saying that Australia’s extinction rate for mammals, which is the highest in the world, could be aggravated unless more measures are made to protect them. It also discovered the extinction of ten Australian birds and seven mammals just like the orange-bellied parrot and the central-rock rat could be stopped if the Government and communities were aware of the risks.
Brendan Wintle, the director of Threatened Species Recovery Hub, called for a national effort to improve the monitoring systems. He said many species occur across multiple states and territories and the monitoring data that exist are in across many different agencies and research groups.”
He added that Australia needs investment and coordination to manage, store, analyze, and report on monitoring data. Several reasons for the decline of species’ include habitat loss through land clearing and other development, and feral cats and foxes.