Survival is hard enough for furry and lovable endangered animals, let alone the small and unattractive ones. Thankfully, Australia’s small but passionate army of conservationists is here to help.
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-A giant flightless stick insect from the Age of Dinosaurs, the phasmid was believed to have been hunted into oblivion by introduced black rats that, in 1918, reached Lord Howe Island, 780 km north-east of Sydney, by supply ship.
-The zoo now has 700 healthy individuals and, following years of local and international interest, finally feels secure enough about the phasmid’s future to put it on public display.
-But the biggest threat to Australia’s unique biodiversity – and the world’s – is habitat destruction and fragmentation. All our States and territories now have legislation aimed at preventing unauthorised land-clearing and, as a result, terrestrial habitat loss in Australia has slowed.
-The ecological rule of thumb is that when 90 per cent of a habitat is cleared, 50 per cent of its species will be driven to extinction.
-Back on Track gives a species a score using three sets of criteria: their probability of extinction, which is based on IUCN criteria; the consequences of extinction, which allows for the social value of a species and its role in an ecosystem; and the potential for recovery, which assesses the level of effort and resources it will take for species management and protection.
-Most of the losses we’re experiencing here are of global significance because they’re species that are found nowhere else in the world