The number of endangered species in Australia has increased by eight percent in the past five years. In addition, pressure on all ecosystems in the country is increasing due to climate change. These are some of the dramatic findings of Australia’s much-anticipated State of the Environment 2021 report.
On Tuesday, Canberra’s environment ministry published the five-year inventory. Commentators and media outlets Down Under described the results as “appalling” and spoke of a “catastrophic loss of wildlife and habitat”.
Data collection over two years
More than 30 experts have spent two years collecting data on Australia’s environment – from rivers and oceans to air and ice to rural and urban areas. The University of Sydney commented that reading the latest report was “factual”.
Since its colonization in 1788, 39 species of mammals have become extinct on the red continent — more than any other continent, according to researchers. At the same time, 80 percent of the country’s nearly 400 species of mammals live only in Australia, including koalas, wombats, and the white platypus.
She said that since the last report was published in 2016, 17 mammal species, 17 bird species and 19 frog species have been listed as endangered or are now classified as “critically endangered.” Overall, the number of endangered animal and plant species has increased from 1774 to 1918 in the past five years.
loss of natural habitat
One of the main reasons is the loss of natural habitat. According to the report, about 7.7 million hectares of land was cleared in Australia between 2000 and 2017. But the devastating bushfires in 2019/20 also severely damaged wildlife.
“Overall, the state and development of Australia’s environment is poor and continues to deteriorate due to increasing pressures from climate change, habitat loss, invasive species, pollution and resource extraction,” the report says. This has a negative impact not only on the health of people, but also on their standard of living, their cultural and spiritual fulfillment.
Scott Morrison’s former Conservative government, which has come under fire for its negative stance on environmental policy, had already received the report in December 2021 but withheld it due to the general election in May. On the other hand, Anthony Albanese’s new government has made combating climate change a major item on its agenda. Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek said on Tuesday that the report reflected “more than a decade of willful inaction and ignorance.” (Abba)
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