A latest study has revealed that, Australia’s smallest endangered species, such as the wallaby and the bilby, are at the greatest risk of extinction.
This risk has emerged due to an imbalance in conservation funding and awareness campaigns.
The study’s lead researcher Thomas Newsome from Deakin University said that conservation efforts were widely targeted at larger endangered species such as sharks and rhinos, meaning smaller, hard-to-find species such as the wallaby and the bilby were left at the greatest risk of extinction, reports Xinhua news agency.
“We’ve basically neglected a whole suite of species, and our research suggests that we should be putting just as much effort into the smaller species as the larger ones,” Newsome said.
He said that widespread land clearing, aggressive farming practices and the introduction of foreign predators posed the greatest risk to some of Australia’s most iconic species, and had contributed to Australia having the highest mammal extinction rate in the world.
“A lot of the freshwater fish in Australia have been ignored, and these species have highly restricted and specialized habitat requirements. Habitat loss can basically wipe out a single species in one blow,” he said.
“For the mammals on the other hand, it’s small wallabies and bilbies which are highly threatened. In fact, Australia has the highest extinction rate in the world for mammals.
“We’ve lost 30 mammals to extinction in the past 200 years – that’s half the world’s mammal extinctions in our own backyard.”
Newsome said that in order to lower the extinction rate in Australia, more funding for smaller species was required, while a lessened human impact on the ecosystem was also urgently needed.