29 Apr 2016


As Tuesday’s federal budget approaches, WWF-Australia today called on the Australian Government to back up their ambitious Threatened Species Strategy with major investment.

While Australia is home to one of the most unique collections of biodiversity on Earth, we also have the worst rate of mammal extinction.

WWF spokesperson Darren Grover said Environment Minister Greg Hunt has done a great job of raising awareness about the plight of threatened species, but now needs to take strong action to prevent further extinctions in Australia.

“The time for talk is over – our species need real money for conservation projects now, if we want to save them,” Mr Grover said.

“Our species are in danger. 418 native Australian animals and 1,265 plants are currently listed as 'threatened',"

“Minister Hunt’s worthy ambitions to turn around the plight of our threatened species need grunt, otherwise our world’s worst extinction rate will accelerate."

“WWF is calling on the Australian Government to invest at the scale needed to turn things around.”

WWF analysis of a selection of the Government’s own threatened species Recovery Plans shows that in the order of $100 million is needed each year for the next 5 years to take a collection of species, such as those identified in the Strategy, to safety.

IN FOCUS: The plight of the hawksbill turtle – and how we can save it

The beautiful hawksbill turtle is in big trouble.

The northern Great Barrier Reef is home to one of the largest populations of hawksbill turtles in the world, but researchers believe its population has declined by 3-4% per year since the 1990’s.

If that trend continues 90% of Great Barrier Reef hawksbills will be gone by 2020. That will be a crisis for the species and the Reef. Hawksbills eat sponges and algae, help keep the Reef in balance and help it to recover.

Globally, it’s estimated millions of hawksbills were killed for their beautiful shells prior to an International ban on the tortoiseshell trade.

The species is listed as ‘critically endangered’ internationally but only ‘vulnerable to extinction’ in Australia.

Given the plight of the hawksbill, WWF-Australia has written to the Australian Government, urging to upgrade this status to “critically endangered” here at home.

“We need major investment in on ground action or we may see the end of Queensland’s hawksbill turtles in our lifetime,” Mr Grover said.

“If we are to save this species, we must confirm how quickly they are declining, where they feed, and better manage the threats they face at their nesting and foraging grounds – the places critical to their survival."

“That will require things like community awareness programs, more monitoring and much more satellite tracking."

“The time is now for action. The Australian Government needs to step up to the plate and put a real effort in to save the hawksbill, and all our precious threatened species.”

WWF-Australia Media Contact: Daniel Rockett, National Media Manager, 0432 206 592, drockett@wwf.org.au