IN DANGER: The Yakka Skink could slide towards extinction. Monitoring could help us take steps to keep the species alive.
IN DANGER: The Yakka Skink could slide towards extinction. Monitoring could help us take steps to keep the species alive. Scott Eipper

Threatened species are not being monitored

THE Threatened Species Recovery Hub (TSRH) has warned that over a third of Australia's threatened animal species are not being monitored.

The research body has released a national assessment of Australia's threatened species monitoring which covers all organisations involved in monitoring from state governments to indigenous groups and not-for-profits.

Project leader Dr Sarah Legge said the results were poor for most groups and often even where monitoring did exist it was still inadequate.

"This puts these species at risk," she said.

By the time we realise we have a problem it may be too late to act.

 

The monitoring activities for threatened species were assessed against a framework of nine key principles developed by professor John Woinarski from Charles Darwin University, and colleagues.

"Without monitoring we have no idea if populations are going up or down, or what's driving any changes," he said.

"We also won't know if the conservation actions we are investing in are working or need to be adapted."

Prof Woinarski said monitoring needed to involve sampling across the whole area where a species occurred and should be maintained for long enough to pick up changes.

The framework and national assessment have been published in a new book by the CSIRO titled Monitoring Threatened Species and Ecological Communities.

Brendan Wintle, the director of TSRH, has called for greater investment Australia-wide to bridge the monitoring gap.

"Monitoring should involve the public and the results should be available to the public," he said.

"Much of conservation spending is taxpayer funded.

"People need to know what they are getting for that."

The TSRH is funded through the Australian Government's National Environmental Science Programme, academic institutions and Australian Wildlife Conservancy.