Looking at all the wonderful animals we have here in Australia you start to think about their status. Knowing which of our animals are CR and others that are LC is crucial for us and our environmental protection groups to focus their money and time wisely.

Here is a run down of the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Conservation Status:

Extinct (EX) – No individuals remaining.

Extinct in the Wild (EW) – Known only to survive in captivity, or as a naturalized population outside its historic range.

Critically Endangered (CR) – Extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.

Endangered (EN) – High risk of extinction in the wild.

Vulnerable (VU) – High risk of endangerment in the wild.

Near Threatened (NT) – Likely to become endangered in the near future.

Least Concern (LC) – Lowest risk. Does not qualify for a more at risk category. Widespread and abundant taxa are included in this category.

Data Deficient (DD) – Not enough data to make an assessment of its risk of extinction.

Not Evaluated (NE) – Has not yet been evaluated against the criteria.

In Australia we have different labels under our Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act)

Extinct – no reasonable doubt that the last member of the species has died

Extinct in the wild – known only to survive in cultivation and despite exhaustive surveys has not been seen in the wild

Critically endangered – extremely high risk of extinction in the wild in the immediate future

Endangered – very high risk of extinction in the wild in the near future

Vulnerable – high risk of extinction in the wild in medium-term future

Conservation dependent – focus of a specific conservation program without which the species would enter one of the above categories.

The Worldwild Life Foundation (WWF) is working to protect some of our animals and noteably:

Marine Turtles

Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas) laying eggs on beach, Lady Elliott Island, Queensland, Australia. © Staffan Widstrand / WWF

from Data Deficient, Vulnerable, Endangered to Critically Endangered
Australian marine turtles

Six of the world’s seven species of marine turtle occur in Australian waters, including the:

  • flatback turtle (Natator depressus)
  • green turtle (Chelonia mydas)
  • hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata)
  • leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea)
  • loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta)
  • olive ridley turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea)

Rock wallabies

Status IUCN: as least concern through to endangered

  • Sixteen species and eight subspecies of rock wallaby live in Australia.
  • Rock wallabies comprise our largest group of macropods (kangaroos, wallabies and their relatives), representing some 22% of remaining species.

Carnaby’s black cockatoos

Carnaby’s black cockatoos © John Lauri

Status IUCN: Endangered

  • Carnaby’s cockatoos pair for life
  • When a Carnaby’s cockatoo chick leaves the nest, it is the size of an adult and can weigh even more than its parents
  • Males and females can be distinguished by the colour of their beaks: females have white beaks and males have black beaks. Both sexes have a white cheek patch and males have a pink eye-ring
  • Between the 1970s and 1990s, Carnaby’s cockatoos disappeared from over one-third of their former range and are now locally extinct in many parts of the central Wheatbelt. The entire population is believed to have halved.

Baudin’s black cockatoos

Baudin's black cockatoos. © Simon Cherriman

Status IUCN: Endangered

It is illegal to shoot black cockatoos in Western Australia.

There are three species of black cockatoo in south-western Western Australia and they are all threatened with extinction. It is illegal to kill, injure or take any black cockatoo from the wild.

If you suspect black cockatoos are being shot or illegally harmed or captured, please telephone Department of Environment and Conservation Wildcare 24hr Hotline on (08) 9474 9055.

If you want to help support WWF and their conservation efforts to save some of our beautiful animals, just check out their site and do either a one off donation or sign up for a monthly small contribution!

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