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Joint Media release
5 September 2008
Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett today joined WWF Threatened Species Network program manager Kat Miller to urge Australians to use National Threatened Species Day, Sunday September 7, to learn more about our threatened species and how they can be protected.
"This year's theme 'Threatened today, extinct tomorrow' underlines how important it is to conserve our native birds and animals and their habitat before it's too late," Mr Garrett said.
"Introduced species, environmental degradation and habitat destruction through land clearing and development all pose a significant threat to native wildlife. But by working together we can make a difference."
Mr Garrett said through the Rudd Government's $2.25 billion Caring for our Country initiative, including $180 million for the National Reserve System, the Government was investing in biodiversity conservation in partnership with natural resource management groups, landowners and the wider community.
"Decisions like the one earlier this year to ban the Savannah cat from importation also make a real difference to the chances our native birds and animals have for survival, particularly as they are forced to adapt to a changing climate."
Ms Miller said that without urgent action, Australia was at risk of losing more of the 346 animal and 1249 plant species already listed as threatened under federal environmental legislation.
"Australia has the worst record of mammal extinction in the world. Incredibly, half the mammals that have become extinct globally in the last 200 years have been Australian species. We cannot afford to let more of our unique plants and animals disappear forever," she said.
Mr Garrett used the day to announce the recipients of this year's Threatened Species Network Community Grants Program.
"This is the eleventh year the grants program has been run and this year $500,000 from the Australian Government's Caring for Our Country initiative will go towards 25 projects around Australia," he said.
"More than 40 nationally threatened plants, animals and ecological communities will benefit from this funding, including the southern bell frog, Carnaby's black-cockatoo, the bridled nail-tailed wallaby and several Tasmanian orchid species."
National Threatened Species Day has been held every 7 September since 1996, to commemorate the death of the last Tasmanian tiger in captivity in 1936.
Ms Miller said people could do their bit by joining a conservation or community group and assisting with nature conservation activities such as tree planting and revegetation schemes.
"They can also ensure they keep domestic animals inside at night so they don't escape and become feral predators," she said.
There are fact sheets available on eight species and ecological communities chosen for the focus of this year's National Threatened Species Day. These provide information about how people can get involved. Visit www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened or www.wwf.org.au/tsn
For a full list of this year's grant recipients and their projects, visit www.wwf.org.au/tsn
All Threatened Species Network Community Grants projects are funded by the Australian Government's Caring for our Country initiative.
For the list of grants recipients, visit www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/ts-day/projects2008.html