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An ecological approach to identifying the endangered fauna in New South Wales

D. Lunney 1, A. Curtin 1, D. Ayers 1, H. G. Cogger 2, and C. R. Dickman 3

1NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, P.O. Box 1967, Hurstville, NSW Australia

2Australian Museum, NSW

3Ecological Society of Australia, University of Sydney

ABSTRACT

This study used ecological criteria to evaluate systematically the conservation status of all, mammals, birds, reptiles and frogs in New South Wales. The outcome was an official schedule of endangered fauna as defined under the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 as amended by the Endangered Fauna (Interim Protection) Act 1991. The work was modelled on the study by Millsap et al (1990) which scored a range of biological variables and used expert opinions to determine priorities for conservation. The listing was undertaken by a Statutory Scientific Committee and the results provided the first baseline status list for all species in New South Wales. Of the 883 faunal species (including 10 Lord Howe island subspecies) identified in the State, 233 (26%) were recognised as endangered. If these, 40 are considered to be extinct in New South Wales. Mammals constituted the worst affected group, with 77 (59%) of the 130 species recorded as endangered, of which 27 species are recorded as extinct in the state. The assessment of the New south Wales fauna also found that adequate ecological information exists for only 6% of the state’s species. The outcome of this study not only provided the first official list of the endangered fauna of New South Wales and explained the methods and reason for listing or excluding each species, but also furnished new material, ideas and directions for programmes to conserve the state’s fauna.