To recognise National Threatened Species Day, WWF-Australia has today released a powerful video featuring Cody Simpson, Layne Beachley, Stephanie Rice, Harry Kewell, Victoria Lee and others, calling on all Aussies to take action to protect our beloved wildlife and their habitats.
The video reveals that Australia has the worst rate of mammal extinction in the world—a crisis expedited by the devastating 2019-20 summer, which saw extreme bushfires tear through more than 12 million hectares of natural habitats. Nearly three billion native animals—including 143 million mammals, 2.46 billion reptiles, 180 million birds, and 51 million frogs—were impacted by the fires.
The video coincides with the release of a new report commissioned by WWF-Australia and produced by ecological consultancy Biolink, which reveals the 2019-20 bushfires caused a 71 per cent median decline in koala populations across six locations on the north coast of NSW. The worst site affected was Kiwarrak, where researchers found no evidence that any koalas survived the summer blaze.
This year’s National Threatened Species Day comes at a crucial time as Australia’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act) undergoes a once-in-ten-year review. An interim report by the review panel found that Australia’s laws are systemically failing to protect wildlife and their natural habitats, recommending an ‘independent governing body’ be established to oversee and enforce environmental laws. Despite the review’s recommendation, the Australian Government has rejected the proposal.
WWF-Australia Partner, Layne Beachley said: “I believe it is so important to live in harmony with nature; caring for the environment is at the heart of everything I do. We can all do our part day-to-day to protect our environment, but now is the time for our government to do the right thing for nature and support the review’s recommendations. Our environmental laws are failing our wildlife and we need to make a stand now to stop this extinction crisis.”
WWF-Australia has been working with Partners Cody Simpson, Layne Beachley, Stephanie Rice, Harry Kewell and Victoria Lee to raise awareness about Australia’s extinction crisis. For National Threatened Species Day, the organisation has also joined forces with Thelma Plum, Mimi Elashiry, Nicole Warne and DJ Tigerlily who, along with existing Partners, are urging the Australian Government to revisit its existing legislation and enforce stronger environmental laws.
“Our wildlife and wild places have recently endured a disastrous bushfire season, with over three billion native animals killed or displaced by the fires. Our wildlife needs our protection now more than ever. We have a once-in-a decade opportunity to turn things around. With the help of our influential partners, we’re asking all Australians to do their part and call on our leaders to strengthen our nature laws and ensure they are properly and independently enforced,” said Rachel Lowry, WWF-Australia’s Chief Conservation Officer.
Australians can help stop our wildlife extinction crisis by sending a message to their local MPs via the WWF-Australia website: https://www.wwf.org.au/get-involved/end-animal-extinction