NSW threatened species list grows by almost 20

A NSW State of the Environment 2021 report, published earlier this month, has found the number of NSW species at risk of extinction now sits at 1043, with an additional 18 threatened species added in the past three years.

A further 116 ecological communities, a group of naturally occurring plants or animals living in a unique location, are also listed as threatened.

Among those listed as threatened in the three years to December 2020 is the Mahony’s Toadlet, a small frog. Work is under way to learn more about the frog and how best to protect them.

The term “threatened” is broad and encompasses species that have been deemed vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered. While some species find themselves threatened in NSW, it does not mean they have the same status in other states, territories or federally.

Modelling predicts only 496 of the 991 terrestrial species listed as threatened are predicted to survive in 100 years’ time. The report noted that management and conservation efforts will not be enough to save many species without addressing key threats such as habitat removal.

One of the biggest threats to native wildlife is invasive species, which threaten more than 70 per cent of species. For example, cats and foxes are among some of the worst offenders, while rats introduced to Lord Howe Island caused nine out of 14 bird extinctions in the state.

The report also notes that land clearing of woody vegetation in NSW had been steadily increasing since 2015, with a slight decrease in 2019.