Australia fails to protect threatened species: gov't advisory panel

CANBERRA, Nov. 6 (Xinhua) -- An advisory panel to the Australian government has warned that the nation is failing to save wildlife from extinction.

In a submission to a Senate inquiry examining Australia's extinction crisis, the Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC) said that Australia had strong environmental laws and is a world-leader in conservation science.

However, it said that the rate of extinction in Australia "indicates that this capacity is not deployed effectively to achieve outcomes, a situation that reflects poorly on Australia's global reputation."

The TSSC is made up of leading scientists who advise the minister for the environment, currently Melissa Price.

Approximately 10 percent of Australia's mammal species have gone extinct since the continent was settled by Europeans - the highest rate of any country in the world in that period.

Almost 1,800 species of flora and fauna are currently officially considered at risk of extinction.

Of those 1,775 species, the government has an official plan to save only 40 percent and the TSSC said the majority of those were outdated and failing to achieve "essential" outcomes.

The committee said that one quarter of threatened species were not being monitored at all, meaning that some species "become extinct before we become aware of the threat."

The Department of the Environment and Energy refuted the TSSC's submission to the inquiry, saying that the government's strategy "has contributed to positive outcomes for many species."

In December 2017 the department released a 17-page update to the threatened species strategy to protect against climate change, a document that the Australian Conservation Foundation, Wilderness Society and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) labelled "a global embarrassment" for its lack of measurable targets.

[ Editor: WPY ]


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