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Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

7 September 2006

Orange-bellied Parrot and Christmas Island Pipistrelle bat listed as critically endangered

The Orange-bellied Parrot and the Christmas Island Pipistrelle have been listed as critically endangered by the Australian Government Minister for Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell. Both animals have been transferred from 'endangered' to 'critically endangered' under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

"The Orange-bellied Parrot was originally listed as endangered under previous legislation that did not provide for a critically endangered category", Senator Campbell said.

"It only makes sense that a bird which is so critically endangered be recognised by elevating it to the highest level of protection that the EPBC Act can offer. The independent Threatened Species Scientific Committee made its assessment and strongly advised me to provide the new listing."

The Christmas Island Pipistrelle, a species of small bat, occurs only on Christmas Island. It was listed as endangered under the EPBC Act in 2001, but has continued to decline due to attacks by introduced predators such as rats, feral cats and the highly invasive Yellow Crazy Ant.

"My decision to list the Orange-bellied Parrot as critically endangered is based on advice from the Threatened Species Scientific Committee that it occurs in very low numbers and the species' long-term survival is not secure," Senator Campbell said.

Only about 100 to 150 adults exist, and the Parrot faces a number of threats, including habitat loss and modification, predators, and catastrophes such as storms during migration and wildfires in its breeding areas.

To further protect the Orange-bellied Parrot, Senator Campbell announced a $3.2 million funding upgrade in August 2006 to enable work with landholders, non-government organisations and state governments to undertake habitat protection and expansion in migratory, breeding and wintering areas.

"To address the threats to the Christmas Island Pipistrelle, a Threat Abatement Plan which includes the Yellow Crazy Ant is being implemented on Christmas Island. A regional Recovery Plan for the Island's biodiversity is also under development", Senator Campbell said.

The Threatened Species Scientific Committee's advice for the Orange-bellied Parrot and the Christmas Island Pipistrelle will shortly be available on the Department of the Environment and Heritage's website shortly.

Media contact:
Rob Broadfield 02 6277 7640 or 0409 493 902

Commonwealth of Australia