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Report details “shocking” state of Australia’s iconic natural environment

Sydney Australia’s unique wildlife is being devastated by bushfires, drought, habitat loss and Global warming, a government report warned Tuesday that more species are headed for extinction. The Five-Year State of the Environment report prompted dramatic action to reverse the “deteriorating and deteriorating” state of flora and fauna portrayed by scientists on land and sea.

The report said the damage is being caused by a climate that has warmed Australia’s average land temperature by 1.4 degrees Celsius since the early 20th century.

The scientists warned in the report that failure to manage the pressures “will continue to result in the extinction of the species.”

Australia’s Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek said it was a “shocking document”.

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A young koala sits near a burnt tree in Kangaroo Island, Australia, January 17, 2020, after a series of bushfires that killed or injured thousands of native animals.

Bill Blair / Getty


“If we continue on the trajectory that we are on now, we will see more threatened species, we will see dry rivers, we will see poor landscapes, we will see dying rocks,” she told reporters.

“The path we are on is not sustainable.”

Plibersek, a member of the centre-left Labor Party that came to power in May’s elections, criticized the previous Conservative government for failing to publish a report obtained in December 2021.

She promised to carve out more of Australia’s land and oceans for protection, advance “fundamental reform” of environmental laws and empower a new Environmental Protection Agency.

of australia 2019-2020 “Black Summer” Bushfire The report found that more than eight million hectares of native vegetation were burned and 1-3 billion animals were killed or displaced. Plibersek said the fire was “an ecological bomb detonating in southeastern Australia”.

Marine heatwave caused Large scale coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef In 2016, 2017 and 2020, the scientists said in the report. Since then, a government report in March found that the reef had again suffered massive bleaching.

The report states that millions of hectares of primary forest have been cleared since 1990.

More than seven million hectares of habitat were cleared for threatened species between 2000 and 2017 without being assessed under Australia’s environmental protection laws.

In five years, more than 200 plant and animal species of national importance were added to the endangered species list under Australia’s environmental laws.


How climate change helped fuel Australia’s bushfires

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“Australia has lost more mammal species than any other continent,” the report said, adding that the number of new species threatened by more than eight percent in five years.

Australia’s cities are also growing rapidly, scientists found, increasing water and energy resources while increasing urban heat, pollution and waste.

“Sydney has lost more than 70 percent of its native vegetation cover through development,” the report said.

Sydney Habor’s stormwater drains also created pollution hotspots, when the harbor was 20 times higher than it was ancient.

WWF-Australia Acting Chief Executive Rachel Lowry said: “The findings of this report are heartbreaking, and the failures of leadership have caused damage on this scale.”

Koala hospital works to rescue injured animals after bushfires in eastern Australia
Rescuers treat a koala named Peter from the Lake Innes Nature Reserve for burns at the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital on November 29, 2019 in Port Macquarie, Australia. Koala Hospital volunteers work with National Parks and Wildlife Service staff searching for koalas after weeks of devastating bushfires in New South Wales and Queensland.

Nathan Edwards / Getty


“If we ignore this report’s warnings, iconic species like the koala in eastern Australia, or our largest glider mammal, will be on our watch forever.”

WWF-Australia said the report should be a “turning point” that leads to more investment and stronger laws to protect Australia’s wildlife and wilderness.

Lowry urged the new government to act quickly, condemning existing environmental legislation to protect the species as having “failed miserably”.

The Australian Marine Conservation Society said the “devastating” new report showed that the coast and marine environment were deteriorating.

“We just need to do more, or we risk everything we rely on our oceans for our health, wellbeing, livelihoods and our culture,” said the society’s chief executive Darren Kindlesides.

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