Purple-crowned fairy wren
With management systems in place and more than 100,000 crocodiles roaming the Northern Territory today it’s hard to imagine them becoming extinct like the last Tasmanian tiger, which died 80 years ago today.
Many of the Territory’s vulnerable, native creatures are on the edge, though.
As Australia observes Threatened Species Day this Wednesday, September 7, Territory Natural Resource Management is shining a light on the many successful programs that are working to ensure threatened species in the Northern Territory will not die out.
There are 189 threatened plant and animal species in the Territory including bilbies, sea turtles, princess parrots and yellow spotted monitors.
TNRM, which works in partnership with landholders, community groups, industry and government to support the responsible management of water, land, soils, plants and animals throughout the Territory, recently funded several projects aimed at protecting threatened species.
Along with a collaborative project between Berry Springs Primary School and the Territory Wildlife Park to build awareness about atlas moths and raise them to release into the wild, TNRM is supporting conservation work by the Wardaman rangers that will protect gouldian finches within Indigenous Protected Areas.
It is also contributing to a project managing bilbies at Banka Banka West station, near Tennant Creek.
Some threatened species projects TNRM is involved in are more established, such as those with partners Australian Wildlife Conservancy and Desert Wildlife Services.
Through activities that control feral cats and foxes in the Tanami Desert’s Newhaven Sanctuary great desert skinks are being better protected.
The habitats of other threatened species like purple-crowned fairy wrens are being protected through a TNRM-led initiative called Territory Conservation Agreements, which encourages landholders to establish and maintain conservation areas on their properties.
Through its work with Larrakia Rangers TNRM is also engaged in in protecting wild populations of atlas moths at Tree Point Conservation Area, an hour’s drive from Darwin.
TNRM chief executive Karen May said many people within the Territory were interested in learning about threatened species and the work being done to protect them.
“Changes to habitat caused by wild fires and weeds as well as the invasion of non-native species like cats and cane toads have contributed to a decline in certain Territory species, particularly small to medium sized mammals and many reptile species,” she said.
“The work that’s happening to protect threatened species requires careful planning and professional expertise.
“There are ways the public can get involved, though. TNRM encourages people to take an interest in and share stories about our native species. Our website and Facebook page are good places to find out more and join the conversation.”
Threatened Species Day is held annually on September 7, in commemoration of the last Tasmanian tiger, which died on that date in 1936 at Hobart Zoo.