Central Australian species at risk
By Adriaan Anarco-Troika
DARWIN — Endangered species in Central Australia are not being adequately protected, conservationists fear. At the recent national conference of conservationists in Canberra, the director of the Conservation Council of the South-East Region and Canberra pointed out, "We have estimated the Endangered Species Unit needs a budget of $22 million per year, yet the federal government is only providing a paltry $ 2 million".
Michelle Kanter, coordinator of the Threatened Species Network for the NT, told Green Left the federal government must, as first priority, establish a coordinator in the central Australia region. She said 70% of Australia is arid land, yet all coordinators are located on the coast.
"The arid lands suffer major land degradation, massive feral animal problems and a poor understanding of the ecology. As a result, the arid lands region has the worst proportion of mammal extinction (over 50%) in the world."
The coordinator would need to be based in Alice Springs and would network across state boundaries, she said.
"More importantly, administrative representatives of most land user groups and their associated networks are based in Alice Springs."
The coordinator of the Central Australian Conservation Council, Nan Smibert, agrees. "Additional funds must include the provision of Threatened Species Network coordinators to cover the arid lands", she said.