Tag Archives: vulnerable species

‘Fundamental failure’: Environment Department not protecting koala habitat


By Mike Foley, The Sydney Morning Herald.

Only 10 percent of the koala habitat cleared in NSW and Queensland between 2012 and 2017 was assessed by the federal government, despite national environment law requiring protection for threatened species.

KOALAS WERE LISTED as a vulnerable species in 2012 and of the 160,000 hectares of known and likely habitat cleared up to 2017, 90 percent was not reviewed by the federal government for its impact to the species. The new figures are revealed in an analysis of government development approval registers by the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF).

SEEN ABOVE:  Koala displaced by habitat loss, Leard State Forest, NSW. Image Maria Taylor, District Bulletin March 2016.

Significant challenges confront koalas after last summer’s bushfires. Environment Minister Sussan Ley warned earlier this year that their status in some areas of their range may be upgraded to endangered. But since the species was listed as threatened, there has not been one enforcement action taken by the federal government against unapproved clearing of habitat.

The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act requires the federal government to assess developments which could impact the health of threatened species, as well as World Heritage areas.


In a submission to the Victorian government the AWPC have formulated a number of recommendations:

The Building Blocks of Extinction and Biodiversity Loss in Victoria

Australian Wildlife Protection Council submissions to the Parliamentary Inquiry into the extinction crisis in Victoria.



Share This:

Growling Grass Frog growls for attention as Melbourne’s growth corridors threaten annihilation

By Sheila Newman, reprinted from Candobetter.net website.

This scientific study into the endangered Growling Grass Frog was released overnight and looks at how the genetic diversity of the frog is being negatively impacted by the rapid urbanisation of Melbourne’s fringe. They were once very abundant in Victoria (so abundant that they used to feed them to the snakes the Melbourne Zoo!) and now only a few populations exist around Melbourne.

The scientists have found a population of the frogs in the Cardinia Shire, which has an increased genetic diversity that they hope to protect.

Claire Keely, the lead scientist on the paper, is both a PhD student and part of the Live Exhibits team at the Melbourne Museum (where they have some of the pretty green frogs in question).

Scientific study finds the vulnerable Growling Grass Frog under increasing threat from rapid urbanisation in Melbourne. (Download paper as full pdf publication here: /files/Genetic stucture and diversity of the endangered growling grass frog in a rapidly urbanizing region.pdf)

A paper by scientists from Museum Victoria and The University of Melbourne has today been published in the Royal Society of London Open Science journal. It describes how the Growling Grass Frog’s genetic diversity is being negatively impacted by rapid habitat loss as Melbourne’s urban fringe continues to expand.


Urbanisation is a leading cause of species extinction worldwide and is considered a major threat to global biodiversity.

The Growling Grass Frog is listed as vulnerable to extinction in Australia, but isolated populations still persist in the greater Melbourne area. Many of these populations are located in the city’s proposed urban growth area, causing concern as the species is known to be sensitive to habitat fragmentation caused by urbanisation.

The study found that there is decreased genetic diversity in the remaining populations found in Wyndham, Melton and Hume-Whittlesea, making the frogs more prone to inbreeding and less able to cope with the threats posed by urbanisation. The scientists have also found that populations in the Cardinia Shire, one of the four regions studied, are genetically distinct.

“Genetic diversity is key to maintaining the population of Growling Grass Frogs in Victoria as it makes them more resilient to the threats posed by urbanisation. If they are to survive in greater Melbourne the population found in Cardinia will require separate conservation management,” said Claire Keely, PhD student, Museum Victoria and The University of Melbourne, who led the study.

This study demonstrates the importance of genetic research on vulnerable species and can be used to inform conservation efforts to maintain populations.

The team are currently looking to gain further funding to extend the study into the Gippsland region in order to find out more about the frog species genetic diversity and how the Cardinia populations are related to those further east.

The Growling Grass Frog is one of the largest frog species in Australia. They are found in south eastern Australia and were once so abundant in Victoria that they were used for dissections in universities and to feed the snakes the Melbourne Zoo.

For interviews, images, video footage or to meet a Growling Grass Frog at the Melbourne Museum please get in contact.

Share This: