Australia’s species extinction crisis in numbers: 2019

Woinarski J. C. Z., Garnett S. T., Legge S. M. et al. (2017) The contribution of policy, law, management, research, and advocacy failings to the recent extinctions of three Australian vertebrate species. Conserv. Biol. 31, 13-23.

Aim: 
Detail the circumstances of three species extinctions; Christmas Island pipistrelle (Pipistrellus murrayi, CIP), Bramble Cay melomys (Melomys rubicola, BCM), and Christmas Island forest skink (Emoia nativitatis, CIFS), detail key characteristics of the extinctions, identify causal or contributory factors and devise recommendations to reduce the likelihood of similar future failures
Type of Study: 
Review
Key Results: 
There are failings in Australian environmental legislation and policy. Despite both CIP and BCM being listed as endangered in a timely manner, the recovery plans were implemented either too late, or were not threat specific, and neither considered the emergency response of captive breeding. Listing the CIF was severely delayed (15 years) and no recovery plan was implemented. For Christmas Island species, poor biosecurity allowed threats to establish on the island that ultimately contributed to both extinctions. A severe lack of funding to prevent extinction was noted for all three species — multiple attempts at securing government funding for research were rejected — contributing substantially to extinctions. Systematic monitoring programs for CIFS and BCM were absent. An effective monitoring program was established for CIP however data was left unpublished and there were no inbuilt decline thresholds to trigger a conservation response.
Reviewer: 
Harry Moore
Full Reference: 
Woinarski J. C. Z., Garnett S. T., Legge S. M. et al. (2017) The contribution of policy, law, management, research, and advocacy failings to the recent extinctions of three Australian vertebrate species. Conserv. Biol. 31, 13-23.