Australian Mammals On Brink Of ‘Extinction Calamity’


Australia has lost about one in ten of its native mammals species in the course of the last 200 years in what conservationists describe as an “extinction calamity”. BBC reports:

No other nation has had such a high rate of loss of land mammals over this time period, according to scientists at Charles Darwin University, Australia. The decline is mainly due to predation by the feral cat and the red fox, which were introduced from Europe, they say.

Large scale fires to manage land are also having an impact. As an affluent nation with a small population, Australia’s wildlife should be relatively secure from threats such as habitat loss.

But a new survey of Australia’s native mammals, published in the journalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests the scale of the problem is more serious than anticipated.

Since 1788, 11% of 273 native mammals living on land have died out, 21% are threatened and 15% are near threatened, the study found. Marine mammals are faring better.