Threatened Species Day was celebrated earlier this week, with the Australian Veterinary Association [AVA] providing the below tips on helping to protect Australian animals in danger of extinction, encouraging the veterinary profession to educate their clients.
The proclaimed list of endangered species under the Australian Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act includes 38 mammals, 44 birds, 13 reptiles, 18 frogs, 19 fishes and 16 other species that are either critically endangered or in danger of extinction. Some of those that are at the top of the list include: Grey nurse shark, Western trout minnow, Western swamp tortoise, Lord Howe Island stick insect and the Bare-rumped sheath-tailed bat.
Australian Veterinary Association President, Dr Robert Johnson, said that the world is facing a biodiversity crisis with thousands of species around the planet threatened with extinction this century. “Preventing such a loss requires involvement by the whole community. Expanding human populations leads to ongoing biodiversity loss caused by habitat destruction, climate and other environmental changes. But there are many things we can do to conserve biodiversity for the future that will help reduce the number of threatened species in Australia,” he said.
“Vets are very passionate about protecting the threatened species of Australia and many provide pro bono services to wildlife rescue and carer groups. They donate approximately $29.7 million worth of veterinary services each year to animals in need.”
Top tips on protecting the environment include:
- Plant local native species in your garden and add logs and rocks to create habitat for native animals and birds
- Use pesticides and herbicides sparingly – birds, frogs and reptiles can become sick or die if they feed on insects sprayed with pesticides
- Keep cats indoors and put bells on their collars to prevent them from hunting native birds
- Watch out for native animals when driving at dusk or dawn, particularly in bush areas
- Take note of what goes down the drain – don’t put oils or fats or harmful chemicals down the sink as they will eventually end up in the rivers and lakes or oceans and harm water quality and wildlife
- Use environmentally friendly cleaning products – detergents with no or little phosphorus are better for the environment
- Separate your garbage and place recyclable items in the correct bins
- Say no to plastic bags and use ‘green’ bags when you go shopping
- Compost your kitchen and garden waste
- Use paper wisely, use recycled paper and print on both sides of the sheet.
- Use your car efficiently by doing multiple errands in a single trip or set up a car pool in the workplace.