The Yellow-footed rock-wallaby (Petrogale xanthopus) is a vulnerable species found on rocky ... / ©: Martin Harvey / WWF-Canon

Wildlife & habitats

WWF focuses on conserving the world’s natural biodiversity by directly protecting wildlife and their habitats. We are also dedicated to containing humanity’s enormous and growing ecological footprint.
Flagship and footprint species

WWF focuses its wildlife conservation work on two types of wild plant and animal species:

flagship species

footprint-impacted species

Flagship species are iconic wild animals that provide a focus for raising awareness and stimulating action and funding for broader conservation efforts.

Footprint-impacted species are those wild animal and plant species primarily threatened by unsustainable practices, such as hunting, logging or fishing.

Habitat loss and degradation

The biggest threat to wildlife is from the habitat loss and degradation caused by humanity’s expanding footprint. The greatest single impact in sheer area comes from clearing forests and woodlands for agriculture, primarily for the creation of pastures for livestock.

Even apparently natural ecosystems are significantly degraded without being directly destroyed due to the diversion and pollution of water, and the disturbances that logging, grazing and fishing cause to natural food chains.
Climate change, as a result of our pollution, is also warming the planet and forcing wildlife to move in search of suitable habitat.

Invasive weeds and pests represent another major threat world-wide to native wildlife and plants. They degrade natural habitats, or in the case of cats, foxes and rabbits in Australia, kill and out-compete native species. Climate change is expected to give invasive pests an added advantage.

Click here to read more about the effects of water pollution and climate change on our wildlife and their habitats.

PLACES YOU LOVE appeal

Places You Love Appeal promo / ©: Daniel Battley / ABC Open Tropical North
Make no mistake! The places you love are under threat.

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What is Biodiversity?

Biological + Diversity = Biodiversity
Coral bleaching due to temperature rise, Indo-Pacific Ocean. / ©: Jürgen Freund / WWF-Aus
© Jürgen Freund / WWF-Aus
Habitat loss and degradation
The biggest threat to wildlife is from the habitat loss and degradation caused by humanity’s expanding footprint.
Footprint-impacted species – those wild animal and plant species primarily threatened by unsustainable practices, such as hunting, logging or fishing.
Common Green Turtle Swimming in Indo Pacific Ocean. / ©: Jürgen Freund / WWF-Canon
© Jürgen Freund / WWF-Canon
Australian priority species
There is a vast wealth of species diversity across Australia’s landscapes. From kangaroos to cockatoos, many of these species occur nowhere else on Earth.
Flagship species – iconic wild animals that provide a focus for raising awareness and stimulating action and funding for broader conservation efforts.
Smoke rising from a fire in the Amazon, alongside the Interoceanica highway in Brazil. 31 May 2007. / ©: Brent Stirton / Getty Images / WWF
Smoke rising from a fire in the Amazon, alongside the Interoceanica highway in Brazil. 31 May 2007.
© Brent Stirton / Getty Images / WWF
Threats to species
From invasive plants and animals and pollution to the impacts of Global Warming, species diversity is under threat around the world.
Head portrait of Sumatran rhino (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) Captive-Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary, within ... / ©: Naturepl.com / Mark Carwardine / WWF
© Naturepl.com / Mark Carwardine / WWF
WWF's global flagship species
Some threatened species require dedicated conservation efforts because their survival cannot be guaranteed by conserving habitat alone.
Mountain pygmy possum. / ©: Matthew Pauza
© Matthew Pauza
IUCN levels of threatened species
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) classifies threatened species into different categories, depending on their relative risk of extinction.