Over eight in 10 of Australia’s nationally-listed threatened species are indanger of extinction due to invasive species, warned a new report by CSIRO.

As more than 70 per cent of Australia’s native animals are found only inAustralia, the loss of these animals would mean a loss for the world.

The report outlines two possible futures for Australian biodiversity, one inwhich we continue on the same path and risk losing our endangered speciesforever and another where we implement targeted actions in an attempt tosalvage our native flora and fauna.

Dr. Andy Sheppard, co-author of the report and CSIRO scientist, said whileAustralian’s may be aware of the damage caused by the recent mouse plaguesacross the country, they had no idea of the magnitude of the invasive speciesissue.

“Urgent, decisive, coordinated action is crucial to stopping the spread ofinvasive species and to protect our extraordinary, irreplaceable nativeanimals and plants, and Australia has a great track record in this space.”

The report conservatively places the cost of damage caused by invasive speciesin Australia at around $25 billion each year and growing.

Sheppard said smarter decisions and interventions were needed to ensureresources were invested where they were most effective.

“Prevention will be much cheaper and more effective than trying to control thespread of pests and weeds once they are established. We need to safely harnessemerging technologies, revitalise our biosecurity research and innovation(R&I) system and continue to invest in long term, strategic research anddevelopment.”

Invasive animals aren’t the only threat, with Australia now recording morethan 2,700 established weed species, which grows by 20 each year, causinghavoc to farmlands, forests, and savannas.

Andreas Glanzig, co-author and Centre for Invasive Species Solutions (CISS)Chief Executive, said Australian’s need to work together to stop the problemfrom getting worse.

“Together we can work to drive down Australia’s native species extinction rate– currently over four species a decade- towards net zero extinctions. Fromsuburban backyards to science labs, everyone can play a role in pest and weedprevention and control.

“The technology exists to establish a national, coordinated communitysurveillance network, making it possible for everyone to get involved, to helpfind new invaders early before they can become a problem.”

Tagged: CSIRO, Native Wildlife

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