How Did National Threatened Species Day Come to be?
So, you may be asking yourself how the ‘National Threatened Species Day’ began. To give you a brief background, the last remaining Tasmanian Tiger in captivity in Beaumaris Zoo in Hobart, perished on the 7th September 1936 and with it, the Thylacine became extinct. In remembrance of this Australian marsupial, and in the hopes of creating awareness and understanding of how other native plants and animals could be exterminated, on the 7th of September 1996, on the 60th anniversary of the death of the last Thylacine, ‘National Threatened Species Day’ was declared. On this day every year since, events occur around the country to raise awareness about threatened species and ultimately to ensure appropriate action is taken towards protecting Australian native species.
Photo sourced from National Geographic Online https://www.nationalgeographic.com.au/ photographer unknown.
Follow this link to see rare footage of the last Tasmanian Tiger in captivity in Hobart Zoo. Video is presented by the Thylacine Museum; https://youtu.be/sjOKamE1pgo
What is the current threatened species list?
Just to name a few species that people might recognize, the Grey Nurse Shark, Swift Parrot, the Northern Hairy Nosed Wombat, Yellow Spotted Tree Frog and a Native Bee, the Leatherback Turtle, Olive Ridley Turtle and the Loggerhead Turtle. The complete list is daunting, ever-increasing and being regularly updated. Sadly, there are thousands of species in Australia that are listed as threatened. To see the full list of threatened, near threatened, vulnerable and endangered species Nationally check out:
Leatherback Turtle (left) and Loggerhead Turtle (right) photographs by Dr Col Limpus
Photographs sources from: Limpus, Dr Col. Queensland Museum. (2018). Leatherback Turtle. Retrieved from URL: http://www.qm.qld.gov.au/Find+out+about/Animals+of+Queensland/Reptiles/Sea+turtles/~/media/Images/Find%20out%20about/Animals/Reptiles/Sea%20turtles/caretta-caretta-2.JPG?w=300&h=200&as=1
Why is it important to promote threatened species to the public?
The short answer is that if the public understands the key issues that contribute to a species becoming threatened in the first place, we can actively work towards ensuring a future for the species and maintain a natural balance in the environment. At the very core of conservation lies a simple, yet powerful process – through awareness solutions follow!
It is imperative that we save these threatened species from extinction. Why? A diverse environment is a healthy environment and all native plants and animals play an important role in this. There is no turning back the clock, when they’re gone, they’re gone. The time to protect these species is now. So, what are the biggest issues facing plants and animals today? The most prominent reasons species are becoming threatened include, but are not limited to; introduction of non-native species, habitat destruction, pollution, urbanization & habitat fragmentation, and human interference.
Of course, these are very broad descriptions and entail countless sub-issues, so it begs the question, what can I do as an individual to help? There are countless ways that you can help and contribute to protecting these threatened species and in your local area. Let’s start with what you can do at home.
- Social Media
- This is a powerful tool that we all have at our disposal and it’s easy to do. Take to your Facebook or Instagram account and post a picture of a threatened species. Spread the word about National Threatened Species Day and help to raise awareness. Search for local activities that are related or groups to join in the area. Join CPC and check out the Coastal Protection Core National Threatened Species Day group.
- Pet Owner’s Taking Charge
- By taking responsibility and registering your animal, training dog’s not to attack other animals and keeping your pet within your own yard are major contributors that will reduce harm coming to local native animals and plants.
- Reducing Pollution
- The recent Queensland government banning single use plastic bags in shopping centres was a great start. Think about your use of plastics and other single use non-biodegradables. There are many ways we can all help to reduce harmful plastic litter that endangers wildlife. Shop with reusable bags, invest in some reusable, washable produce bags, choose the carton of milk instead of the plastic bottle, the list is endless!
- Recycle or up-cycle glass bottles and containers where appropriate. Create an at home compost bin for your organic waste. This is also fantastic for the health of your gardens!
- Make your yard appealing to local wildlife
- This one is endless so just to point out a few ideas; Introduce nesting boxes for native species to use, encourage animals into your yard by planting native plants and attempt to make your gardens as natural as possible. Try not to use any chemicals that will deter native fauna. And…..don’t be afraid of native bees, these are critical in maintaining floral diversity.
Observe and Report:
Moving on to other aspects of contributing, you can also do your bit by reporting any sick or injured wildlife, be that terrestrial or marine, to an organisation that can help. Put your local wildlife carer in your phone. In Queensland the RSPCA looks after injured wildlife, contactable on 1300 ANIMAL (1300 264625) and it is important to keep your distance and avoid personal injury in these cases.
There are many outstanding volunteer opportunities for individuals within environmental organisations and you can find a list of these on your local government websites. Most of these organisations are non-profit and rely heavily on volunteers to complete their conservation projects. Some of which are centred on Seagrass, Coral, Turtle Care, Landcare, and many more. Choose what you are passionate about and get involved in a positive and very rewarding way. There are also many events to volunteer and. Just last month Coastal Protection Core hosted 3 incredibly successful Beach Clean Up events and the results were staggering, check our blogs detailing the quantity of trash we collected. Thanks to our many volunteers that turned up to contribute!