Joel Callen

News

Tue, 10 Feb, 2015

Australia’s mammals going extinct at alarming rates

Australia’s mammals going extinct at alarming rates

It seems Australia has lost a larger portion of our wildlife than we once thought. A new study has shown that more than 10 per cent of Australia’s land mammal species has been wiped out since European settlement. Compare that with North America, which has seen just one species pushed to extinction since European settlement.

And who, or what is to blame? Well, the finger is being pointed squarely at introduced species. The biggest culprits are feral cats and red foxes, who prey on the small, "bite-sized" mammals that have gone extinct. Both animals were originally brought to Australia to hunt, but did their job too well and spread very fast.

A third introduced species is being blamed for pushing at least one other mammal to the brink of extinction: the cane toad is preyed upon by the northern quoll. Unfortunately cane toads produce a highly toxic venom which is killing the would-be predators.

The study has also identified that the changing way Australia deals with bush fires has contributed to accelerated extinction rates.

Related links:

Mittens Accomplished! Find out what the Australian public did to help koalas in need

Christmas Island’s famous giant red crabs have made a spectacular comeback

You should be cooking with these Aussie native foods

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