Scientists claim that more than 60 endangered Australian species can be saved from extinction by making extra conservation efforts.
Mammals, birds, reptiles, frogs and freshwater fish are among the 63 species that could become extinct in 20 years, according to a study by Charles Darwin University.
“We really shouldn’t lose two-thirds of them,” said conservation biologist Stephen Garnett.
“We know who they are, where they are, what threatens them, and we have a good idea of how to save them. It just takes commitment.”
Many of these are small fish that live in the upper reaches of streams in southeastern Australia, where they need protection from trout.
Others include a frog on Mount Victoria, a nettle that lives in the center of NSW, a skinhead in Arnhem Land and a parrot in southwestern Australia.
“Some of them already have projects that are funded,” Professor Garnett said.
“But some of them are still not receiving support, and existing projects require additional investment and long-term commitments to get them back.”
The area needed to restore the health of 63 endangered species is small. Their range together is about 4,000 square kilometers or 0.0006 percent of Australia’s landmass.
The hardest thing to save will be five reptiles, four birds, four frogs, two mammals and a fish that has not been noticed recently.
“This is the biggest concern,” Professor Garnett said.
“If you can’t find something, you can’t help it. But we have to make sure they’re gone before we give up.”
The team concluded that a shrew on Christmas Island, a frog in central Queensland, a fish from a river south of Sydney and a lizard near Melbourne are likely already extinct.
However, small undiscovered populations can still survive, and researchers say it is too early to give up hope.
The study, published in the journal Biological Conservation, was a joint effort of environmentalists and conservationists across the country.
The research team recommended a number of actions to improve the chances of conservation of these species.
Key ones are getting all the species that are officially listed as endangered, increasing survey efforts and taking immediate management action to reduce known threats.