In addition, the government hopes to create new safe havens for endangered native animals in an effort to protect 20 mammal, 20 bird, and 30 plant species.

Top image: Feral cats in Australia can get big. Like really big. (Credit: Jake Weigl /NT News)

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To make its recently unveiled Threatened Species Strategy (PDF) work, the Australian government says it’s going to take a “science-based approach” in order to “ensure the actions we choose are the ones most likely to succeed.”

It’s an effort to protect Australia’ unique, but exceptionally fragile, natural heritage.

“More than 80 per cent of our mammals and 90 per cent of our trees, ferns and shrubs occur nowhere else on earth,” noted the Australian government in a statement. “But since European settlement, in just over 200 years, over 130 of Australia’s known species have become extinct, lost to us and to the world forever. The list of those threatened with extinction continues to grow. Australia’s threatened species are ours to protect and we all have a role to play.”

Key action areas of the strategy include:

  • Tackling feral cats
  • Safe havens for species most at risk
  • Improving habitat
  • Emergency intervention to avert extinctions

The five year plan includes measurable targets from one year onwards, and will be reported on and updated annually. These measurable key targets include:

  • 2 million feral cats culled by 2020
  • 20 threatened mammals improving by 2020
  • 20 threatened birds improving by 2020
  • Protecting Australia’s plants
  • Improving recovery guidance

Some $6.6 million has been allocated to the action plan, which isn’t very much. The vast majority of these funds will go do feral cat eradication. No mention was given as to whether dingoes will be introduced — a strategy that was recently proposed by conservationists in Australia.

Much more at The Guardian.


Contact the author at george@io9.com and @dvorsky.