A new report warns Australia’s native wildlife could suffer disastrous effects from non-native plants and animals. Experts from the national scientific agency, CSIRO, predict that much of the country’s native plants and animals are endangered. They believe they could be gone by 2050 unless urgent action is taken.
Non native species have invaded Australia and threaten to invade native plants and animals.
Invasive animals include European rabbits, which invade two-thirds of Australia, domestic feral cats, pigs and foxes.
Introduced species endanger more than 80 percent of Australia’s endangered species.
The report is titled Tackling Pests and Predators: Australia’s Path to a Pest and Weed Free Future. He notes what researchers believe will be an upcoming “… wave of news extinction. “
The study was carried out by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), a government agency.
Andy Sheppard is CSIRO’s Research Director for Biosafety. He said the colonization of Australia by the British over 200 years ago left negative effects on the environment.
“Look, Australia, because a lot of post-British colonial countries suffered from a tremendous amount of alien species introductions early in their colonization history,” he said. He added that there were groups set up to deliberately introduce plants and animals to make Europeans feel more at home.
Australia, like New Zealand, has suffered. “Australia unfortunately has the worst international record for mammal extinction, ”he said and noted that it has a lot to do with the activities of introduced cats and foxes.
The report released on November 23 estimated the cost of damage caused by invasive species in Australia to be around $ 18 billion each year and growing.
The study said immediate action was needed to stop the spread of invasive species and protect “Australia’s irreplaceable native animals and plants”.
Traditionally, chemical and biological controls have been used to manage wildlife pest populations. There are debates about these methods and some animal supporters have criticized them as inhumane.
Australian scientists are working on genetic pest control methods. Tests are underway on small laboratory animals, but a so-called “working system” could take up to five years. One possible biocontrol is to limit their ability to reproduce.
I am Grégory Stachel.
Phil Mercer reported this story for Voice of America. Gregory Stachel adapted it for VOA Learning English. Bryan Lynn was the editor.
Words in this story
species – not. a group of animals or plants that are similar and can produce young animals or plants
to present – v. bring (something, such as a type of plant or animal) to a place for the first time
extinction – nm the condition or situation that occurs when something (such as a plant or animal species) has completely disappeared
mammal – nm a type of animal that gives milk to its young and usually has hair or fur covering most of its skin
pest – nm an animal or insect that causes problems for humans including damaging crops