A new report warns that native Australian wildlife is “at risk of an unprecedented alien attack.” Experts at CSIRO, a national scientific institution, predict that many of the country’s unique flora and fauna are at risk of disappearing by 2050 unless urgent action is taken.
Alien species have invaded Australia and threatened to overtake native flora and fauna.
Invasive pests include the European rabbit, stray cat, pig, fox, and cane toad, which parasitize two-thirds of Australia.
Alien species endanger more than 80% of Australia’s endangered species.
Report, Fighting plagues and predators: Australia’s road to a pest-free and weed-free futureEmphasizes that researchers believe that it is a “new wave of extinction that is looming.”
This study was compiled by CSIRO, a government agency, the Federal Institute for Scientific and Industrial Research.
Andy Sheppard, director of biosecurity research at CSIRO, said the British colonization of Australia over 200 years ago left a devastating environmental heritage.
“Look at Australia. Many post-British colonial nations suffered from the mass introduction of alien species early in the history of colonialism,” he said. “As you know, there was a society that was deliberately set up to introduce things so that Europeans could feel more at home. As a result, Australia suffered as much damage as New Zealand. However, Australia has the worst international record for the extinction of mammals, mainly related to the activities of stray cats and stray foxes. “
A report released on Tuesday estimates the cost of damage caused by Australian invasive species (mainly weeds, stray cats, rabbits and fire ants) at about $ 18 billion annually and is growing.
The study noted the need for “urgent, decisive, and coordinated action” to stop the spread of invasive species and protect Australia’s “irreplaceable native flora and fauna.”
Traditionally, chemical baits and biological control have been used to control wild pest populations. The methods are controversial and some animal welfare advocates have criticized them as inhumane.
Australian scientists are working on genetic pest control techniques. Testing with mice is underway, but the so-called “working system” can be up to five years away. One of the potential biological controls is to disrupt the rodent reproductive cycle and limit fertility.
Native Australian species under threat
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