To date, conservation havens in Australia have helped save 13 species from feral cats and invasive foxes.
Conservation havens are saving Australia’s species. So much so, that 13 mammal extinctions have been prevented in Australia so far by using invasive-free areas. These havens are incredibly important considering Australia has the highest recorded rate of mammal extinction in modern times, which is largely due to the presence of feral cats and invasive foxes.
To see how effective these efforts have been, the Threatened Species Recovery Hub that carried out the audit consisted of 28 scientists and conservation managers as well as government NGO’s and conservation agencies. Professor Sarah Legge of University of Queensland was part of the team and highlighted the importance of focusing on creating havens to assist in reducing the impact of feral cats and invasive foxes on native wildlife:
Since the 1980s additional havens have been created in Australia by [removing] feral animals from islands or from within large fenced areas on the mainland, and threatened animals have been moved to these havens to put them out of reach of introduced predators. As of early 2018, we had 101 island havens covering 2152 square kilometres and 17 fenced havens covering 346 square kilometres.”
In the future, however, it will be important to think deliberately about the locations of new havens as well as which species should be included within them. Many species have already been protected by the chosen locations of havens, but a number are still at risk. Researcher Dr. Jeremy Ringma explained:
The review revealed that while more than half of the mammal species in Australia that are vulnerable to cats and foxes have the protection of being in a haven, 29 species are not yet in a single haven.”
A marvelous achievement for wildlife restoration, havens are protecting native wildlife across Australia, and can function as a beacon of hope for other parts of the world suffering from similar challenges.
Featured photo: Frankland Islands Credit: Matthew Kenrick
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