Catastrophic loss of wildlife hits Australia. Cause? Humans.
Land clearing was given as the primary cause of wildlife losses in Australia in the Australia state of the environment report 2022. It paints a grisly picture of catastrophic loss on that continent which is so enriched with native species. More than 80% of the country’s nearly 400 mammal species are native only to Australia. 27,000 mi² of land clearance occurred between 2000-2017 which is an area more than three times the size of Wales in the UK. Shockingly, almost all of the felled vegetation took place without government approval. Tanya Plibersek, the new Environment Minister promised that additional protections would be in place over 30% of Australia’s land and 30% of its oceans.
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Other sources of wildlife destruction are put down to “increasing pressures from climate change, invasive species, pollution and resource extraction. They have all taken their toll on Australia’s deteriorating ecosystems.
The feral cat is one of the invasive species on the continent. Others are the cane toad, feral pig, red Fox, European rabbit, feral goat and brumby to name some. The feral cat comes in for enormous criticism and abuse by the Australian state and federal governments. But in truth, every cause of the decline in Australia’s ecosystem is due to human activity because every invasive species is present on that continent because of human activity.
What is equally shocking is the fact that the administrators of this lucky country in terms of their wildlife pass the buck onto invasive species, particular feral cats, for the loss of native mammals and marsupials. They need to look in the mirror and face the facts. And to remind themselves that mass cruelty against feral cats is not the answer.
And as land clearance was the primary cause of the catastrophic loss of wildlife, they need to focus on that as a priority. And I suspect that the reason why land clearance i.e. habitat loss, is the primary cause is because there is a blind drive towards that holy grail of humankind: economic growth. As long as there is economic growth all is well (for humans). Sadly, economic growth invariably leads to the exact opposite for wild species because you have to clear land and therefore destroy their habitat in order to build human settlements and industrial areas including mining to extract those precious minerals and coal.
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Australia is one of the biggest coal exporters on the planet and they continue to do this in full knowledge of the fact that it causes global warming and as a consequence destroys wildlife because of increased extreme temperatures leading to catastrophic wildfires as occurred last year which killed a couple of billion native animals.
The report highlights some of the nation’s most well-known animals including the koala and the gang-gang cockatoo which are among the 200 plants and animals added to the threatened species list since the report in 2016. The koala was decimated during those massive fires which destroyed thousands of square miles of habitat. There were some horrendous photographs of burnt koalas. So sad, so predictable, so human.
Tanya said that the “shocking” report revealed a “story of crisis and decline in Australia’s environment”. And she emphasised that if the country continued “on the trajectory that we are on, the precious places, landscapes, animals, and plants that we think of when we think of home may not be here for our kids and grandkids.”
The publication of the report was delayed. It was received by Scott Morrison’s government before Christmas but not released. It was made public by the environment minister.
The authors of the report said: “In a rapidly changing climate, with declining biodiversity, the general outlook for our environment is deteriorating. The impacts of this will affect us all”. This is a reference to the fact that nature is indivisible and interdependent and humankind ignores that simple fact at their peril. If they do, they will be destroyed by their own ignorance and inabilities.
Below are some more articles on Australia, the land of feral cat haters who are blind to the real cause of their wildlife problems.
Cat owner’s desperate note to vet shows how Australia’s cost-of-living crisis affects cat welfare: ‘Sorry to have to do this’
Is mandatory cat registration the future of cat ownership?
School teacher encourages kids to kill non-native animals including cats
Cats are better at withstanding snake venom than dogs
Confused and potentially criminal attempt by Australian local authority to protect wildlife from cat predation
Australian Mist (2023)