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Joint Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
and
Program Leader - Species WWF-Australia
Dr Nicola Markus

7 September 2005

More than half a million dollars to protect our unique species


Dedicated community groups will share in more than $550,000 from the Australian Government to help protect threatened plants and animals around the country.

Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, today announced the Threatened Species Network Community Grants to celebrate National Threatened Species Day, along with WWF Program Leader - Species, Dr Nicola Markus.

The funding will help to protect a number of species currently at risk, such as the Brush-tailed Rockwallaby, the Flatback and Olive Ridley Turtles, Black Cockatoos, the Bilby, the Swift Parrot and Greyheaded Flying Foxes.

The grants programme is part of the Threatened Species Network (TSN) partnership between the Australian Government and WWF-Australia.

National Threatened Species Day is celebrated on 7 September each year to commemorate the death of the last captive Tasmanian Tiger in 1936 in Hobart. The theme this year is ‘Fight back against Ferals.’

“The TSN programme helps people with vital on-ground threatened species projects, ranging from monitoring and tracking activities to planting, fencing and pest control,” Senator Campbell said.

“Over the past seven years the Australian Government has provided more than $3.5 million for over 270 projects across the country. The latest funding will go towards 30 projects targeting 180 different species and ecological communities.

“A variety of habitat work will cover almost 700,000 hectares of land. This means more safety from feral pests and better shelter and food supplies for species like the Greater Bilby and Flatback Turtle.

“For example, Queensland’s Gympie & District Landcare Group will use its grant to remove weeds and fence off roosting sites for the vulnerable Grey-headed Flying Fox. Over in Western Australia, the Kimberley Land Council is going to satellite tag and track Freshwater Sawfish in the Fitzroy River.

“The TSN programme puts money into the hands of local people who give up their own time to conserve Australia’s animals and plants. I applaud their commitment and wish them well with the work ahead.” Dr Markus congratulated all grant recipients and said WWF-Australia was proud to support their efforts.

“When we helped form the Threatened Species Network many years ago, one of the aims was to promote the fact that conservation is everyone’s business,” she said.

“Australia has already lost some 50 animal species and more than 60 plant species to extinction. We must do everything we can to protect those under threat from issues such as pests, weeds and pollution.

Senator Campbell and Dr Markus urged all Australians to get involved in National Threatened Species Day activities and other events throughout September, which is Biodiversity Month.

For a full list of funded projects or more information visit www.wwf.org.au/tsn. To request a free information kit visit www.deh.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/ts-day/index.html or contact the DEH Community Information Unit on Freecall 1800 803 772.

Media Contacts:
Renae Stoikos (Senator Campbell's office) 0418 568 434
Dr Nicola Markus (WWF-Australia) - 02 8202 1205 or 0438 125 266

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