Indonesia’s orangutans were heard cheering loudly from the treetops yesterday when Australian Prime Minster John Howard announced that taxpayers would chip in half a million dollars to help ensure their continued existence. A spokesorangutan told Crikey he thought it was “great, really great” and offered assurances the money wouldn’t be spent on plasma screen TVs. 

Australia’s own endagered animals have acknowledged the plight of the Indonesian orangutan and welcomed the financial support. “We’re chuffed for them,” said one of Australia’s 40 remaining Gilbert’s Potoroos. “But still, more’s needed.”

But others, like the almost extinct Boggomoss Snail and the Golden Sun Moth, have been left asking “What about us?” 

Here are 10 Australian threatened species which could make good use of $500,000. These native animals are taken from the Threatened Species Network Grant Recipients 2007-2008.

1. Endangered Pink Underwing Moth (Queensland)

Project Title: Extending and Enhancing Habitat Corridors for the Endangered Pink Underwing Moth Phylllodes imperialis
Grant: $36,363
Project Description: Engage and educate the local community in addressing fragmentation of the only known breeding site of Underwing Moth (Phyllodes imperialis) through corridor establishment and habitat rehabilitation.

2. Swift parrots (New South Wales)

Project Title: Working with Communities to Monitor Swift Parrots in nominated Important Bird Areas in NSW
Grant: $31,818
Project Description: Increase capacity for the local community to participate in woodland bird conservation through awareness-raising workshops and on-ground work. Schools, Indigenous groups and Traditional Owners and other land holders will form a network, with actions concentrated in four nominated Important Bird Areas in NSW.

3. Purple Copper Butterfly (New South Wales)

Project Title: Purple Copper Butterfly Habitat Restoration and Fire Research
Grant: $16,136
Project Description: The Purple Copper Butterfly has a very limited distribution due to its close association with Bursaria spinosa ssp. Lasiophylla which grows above 900m above sea level. Many sites are found on private land and for the butterfly to persist, these must be protected and habitat optimised through weed control and revegetation.

4. Little Desert Malleefowl (Victoria)

Project Title: Little Desert Malleefowl Distribution and Researching Monitoring Sites
Grant: $10,309
Project Description: This project aims to map the distribution of Malleefowl by searching for Malleefowl prints along sandy tracks in Little Desert. It will also continue the Malleefowl site research work started in 2005 by the Victorian Malleefowl Recovery Group Inc. (VMRG) involving Greencorps and community groups.

5. Tiger Quoll (Victoria)

Project Title: Wildlife Corridors for the Tiger Quoll at Wonyip
Grant: $30,400
Project Description: This project will survey the current Tiger Quoll status and provide habitat corridors along small creeks and gullies, which are largely under pine. In the longer term we will establish a major corridor between two critical creeks.

6. Fitzroy River Turtle (Queensland)

Project Title: Fitzroy River Turtle Conservation Project
Grant: $19,618
Project Description: This project will directly benefit the turtle’s population through nest protection, weed control and fencing. The project will also raise awareness of a locally threatened species.

7. Southern Bell Frog (South Australia)

Project Title: Southern Bell Frog Habitat Restoration
Grant: $17,133
Project Description: The target population of Southern Bell Frogs is small and isolated and is of extremely high conservation significance. It is restricted to 9 ha of a single swamp. This project aims to recreate habitat in a neighboring, previously grazed swamp that has been fenced off and placed under a conservation agreement. Natural recolonisation or translocation would then be able to establish additional sub-populations.

8. Red-tailed Phascogale (Western Australia)

Project Title: Prepare Wadderin Sanctuary for Reintroduction of Red-tailed Phascogale
Grant: $10,518
Project Description: The Narembeen farming community is in the last stages of fencing the 520 ha Wadderin Sanctuary to exclude predators with the aim of reintroducing the lost fauna of the central Wheatbelt. This project will complete the fencing, eliminate foxes and feral cats, and complete preparations for the first reintroduction the endangered Red-tailed Phascogale.

9. Wankurra (Golden Bandicoot) (Northern Territory)

Project Title: Wankurra (Golden Bandicoot) Translocation Project
Grant: $29,455
Project Description: The Gumurr Marthakal Rangers and Traditional Owners of the Wessel Islands will work collaboratively with scientists from the NT Department of Natural Resources Environments and the Arts and Northern Land Council Caring for Country Unit to translocate 20 Golden Bandicoots from the only known site in the NT (Marchinbar Island) to establish a second population on the ecologically suitable Guluwuru Island. This action is a management response to reduce the risk of losing the Golden Bandicoot population in the NT if feral cats were to be introduced to Marchinbar Island.

10. Yellow-snouted Ground Gecko (Northern Territory)

Project Title: Protecting Populations of the Yellow-snouted Ground Gecko on Pastoral Leases from Wildfire
Grant: $6,273
Project Description: The purpose of this project is to manage and monitor the Yellow-snouted Ground Gecko Diplodactylus occultus on the three sites that are currently known, all on privately managed land, in collaboration with the lease manager. This will involve creating fire breaks, establishing long-term monitoring plots, and raising awareness amongst the broader community of the impacts of contemporary fire regimes on this species and broader biodiversity. The methods used to monitor the population have been developed in partnership with the NT Biodiversity Unit and NT Museum and Art Gallery.

Peter Fray

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