Two more unique Australian species – the south-eastern glossy black cockatoo and the mountain skink – have been added to the growing catalogue of threatened species.

The mountain skink is being listed as endangered under national environmental law, while the south-eastern glossy black cockatoo is being listed as vulnerable.

They join the koala, greater glider and gang-gang cockatoo as Australian species recently categorised as under threat of extinction. 

“It’s terrible to have two more Australian species pushed closer to extinction,” said the Australian Conservation Foundation’s biodiversity policy adviser, Sophie Power.

“The unique biodiversity of this ancient land is under threat from a combination of land clearing, logging, invasive species and climate change.

South-eastern glossy black cockatoos feed almost exclusively on cones from mature female casuarina trees and they need the hollows of old eucalypts for nesting – these trees were hit hard by the devastating bushfires of 2019-20.

“The mountain skink, listed today as endangered, is an essential part of the biodiversity of the mountains that straddle NSW, Victoria and the ACT.

“The State of the Environment report, released last month by Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek, concluded that Australia’s natural environment is in poor condition and is deteriorating.

“Australia has one of the world’s highest extinction rates. Since our national environment law came into force more than 20 years ago, the list of threatened species and ecosystems has continued to grow.

“To halt Australia’s extinction crisis we need stronger national environment laws, an independent regulator to enforce them and adequate funding for the recovery of Australia’s threatened species.”

Header pic by John Spencer/OEH

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