THREATENED SPECIES RECOVERY TEAMS
UNSUNG HEROES KEY TO LONG-TERM SURVIVAL OF ENDANGERED SPECIES
7 SEPTEMBER 2022
Spectacled flying foxes, magnificent brood frogs and littoral rainforest are just some of the 180 species and four ecological communities at risk of extinction in the Wet Tropics. Key to their long-term survival are groups of experts working together to develop and implement species recovery plans.
Jacqui Diggins, Acting Biodiversity and Climate Leader at Terrain NRM said stopping the decline of endangered species and supporting their long-term recovery back to a healthy population is very challenging.
“It takes many years and consistent funding to keep species from going extinct but probably most importantly it needs the collaboration of experts and different organisational perspectives to think through all the complex environmental challenges involved,” she said.
“Typically, what happens is that groups of people get together to establish recovery teams and action groups, which provide an important forum to share knowledge and coordinate actions. They are often coordinated by volunteers and they’re critical for the long-term survival of any endangered species.”
Recovery teams and action groups involve conservationists, scientists, Traditional Owners and representatives from local councils, government agencies and natural resource management organisations. Currently, there are eight formal groups across the region working to protect some of our highest priority species including the northern bettong and mahogany glider.
Terrain NRM, the natural resource management body for the Wet Tropics, is currently focused on understanding and protecting nine priority threatened species – coastal littoral vine forest, mabi rainforest, broad leaf tea tree, ant plants, cassowaries, mahogany gliders, northern bettongs, yellow-bellied gliders and northern quolls.
Ms Diggins said the most common threats for endangered species are habitat loss, fragmentation and climate change, with the next decade being pivotal for urgent action.
“We’re working closely with land managers, recovery teams and Traditional Owners to restore and protect habitat for threatened species as well as to better manage key threats such as wildfires and invasive pest animal and plant species,” she said.
“Supporting the recovery teams, the unsung heroes of threatened species recovery, is one of the key ways for us to ensure that some of our most important species have a chance at long-term survival.”
Ms Diggins said support for recovery teams would be the focus for the forthcoming NQ Threatened Species Symposium in Cairns in February 2023.
“This will be our second symposium; the idea first came about when we noticed how recovery teams were all working independently although they share many of the same issues and challenges. The symposium is an opportunity to bring them together from all over Far North Queensland to learn from each other and hear from scientists and government representatives.”
** September is Biodiversity Month and 7 September is National Threatened Species Day.