island conservation zoos victoria strange species feature

Zoos Victoria is Working to Protect the Strangest of Species

Some endangered species get more attention than others, but Zoos Victoria knows that all are in need of conservation.

Lesser known Australian native species may not look like the flagship species that everyone is fighting to protect, but Zoos Victoria is working hard to save them from extinction. Environmental minister Lily D’Ambrosio noted:

In Australia, 28 percent of frogs are threatened with extinctions.

Zoos Victoria will be conducting research to better understand the species’ breeding habits and responses to the effects of climate change—information which will help conservationists recover populations and mitigate declines. There are also plans to create a cryopreservation facility where they DNA of endangered species can be stored in a final effort to prevent extinction.

One species conservationists at Zoos Victoria are trying to protect, the Baw Baw Frog, is endemic to the Mt. Baw Baw plateau and is considered to be Critically Endangered. This species has been on the decline for almost 30 years and researchers are concerned that without conservation efforts, the species could become extinct in the next few years.

Island Conservation Baw Baw Frog

A Baw Baw Frog. Credit: Daniel Pockett

The Alpine She-oak Skink is another native species that urgently needs conservation intervention. This species is of particular concern because of its limited range; it is only found at 1500m elevation and is currently only found in four locations throughout Victoria.

Island Conservation Alpine She-Oak Skink

An Alpine She-oak Skink. Credit: The Age.com.au

Although insects are not the first thing one might think of when it comes to conservation, they are vital to ecosystem health and it is crucial to prevent their extinctions. This is the case for the Lord Howe Island Stick Insect which is Critically Endangered. It was once thought to be driven to extinction by invasive black rats. However, in 2001, the species was rediscovered on a remote volcanic island near Lorde Howe, where there are no invasive rats. The Stick Insect is still considered to have critically low population numbers, but is being supported by a captive breeding program at Melbourne Zoo.

Island Conservation Lord Howe Insect

A Lord Howe Stick Insect. Credit: Pat Scala

Although these species may not be widely-recognized, they are all critical species in their respective ecosystems and are currently at great risk of disappearing forever. Thanks to conservation efforts, there is hope even for these lesser-known species.

Featured photo: Lorde Howe Island. Credit: Percita
Source: The Age

About Emily Heber

Emily is a recent graduate from UC Santa Barbara with a BS in Zoology. As a student, she discovered that she had a passion for the conservation of endangered species and their ecosystems. Her background in informal education has allowed her the opportunity to share her passion for animals with others, something she seeks to continue doing while working with the communication team. In her spare time, Emily enjoys exploring the amazing hiking trails found in Santa Cruz and tries to SCUBA dive whenever possible. Emily is excited to join the Island Conservation team and to help share the amazing work that is being done here.

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