About

Record number added to 2023 threatened species list

Share
A record number of species were added to the Australian Conservation Foundation’s (ACF) 2023 threatened species list.
2023 threatened species list

A record number of species were added to the Australian Conservation Foundation’s (ACF) 2023 threatened species list.

The list includes native animals at risk of extinction, as well as plants and ecological systems.

The pink cockatoo was one of 144 species added to ACF’s threatened list in 2023 — the highest number of species to become threatened in one year.

Here’s what you need to know.

Conservation laws

Australia’s natural environment is legally protected by the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBCA).

However, the ACF criticised the Government for not doing enough to monitor and enforce the EPBCA.

“The laws that are meant to protect nature in Australia are failing,” it said.

Why?

The ACF blamed land clearing (removing native vegetation) for “driving species onto the endangered list”.

The report found over 10,000 hectares of natural habitats were approved for land clearing in 2023. However, the ACF said the full scale of habitat destruction was likely to be much higher, as land clearing often goes ahead without any legal assessment.

Additionally, it said agriculture, primarily beef production, “represents the vast majority of this unregulated, unapproved clearing”.

Impact

In addition to species added to the ‘threatened list’ in 2023, 11 were ‘uplisted’ to a category closer to extinction.

The ACF found the northern quoll, a small marsupial, will lose the most land under approved habitat destruction.

It also listed koalas among the worst affected by the impacts of land clearing.

The report’s authors have called on lawmakers to strengthen current legislation to future-proof species from extinction.

Become smarter in three minutes

Get the daily email that makes reading the news actually enjoyable. Stay informed, for free.

Be the smart friend in your group chat

Join thousands of young Aussies and get our 5 min daily newsletter on what matters in your world.

It’s easy. It’s trustworthy. It’s free.