National parks protect the best of our natural heritage: stunning landscapes, extraordinary wildlife and majestic forests. Together with other protected areas they form the basis of our economic and social wellbeing, attract millions of visitors annually, and help to protect Australia’s unique wildlife by acting as a refuge for threatened species. Although their primary purpose is the protection of biodiversity, National Parks also deliver other invaluable economic, social, cultural and health benefits to Australians. Future generations deserve the right to see these natural values intact and protected as we do today.
The rampant clearing that is threatened is eerily reminiscent of that which occurred in Queensland under Campbell Newman’s disastrous reign—a mess that the incumbent Labor government still hasn’t been able to clean up.
Added to the increasing intensity of native forest logging and loss of habitat for urban development, the pending wave of land clearing will push koalas to the brink in NSW says the National Parks Association of NSW (NPA).
This is a sobering piece on the impacts of invasive species – particularly mammals – on extinction rates.
How can we stop this? One way is to restore populations of top order predators to control the smaller ones and promote coexistence.
In Australia this would mean dingoes or Tassie devils. Thoughts?
New figures released today by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) shows the expansion of the National Park estate has almost ground to a halt since the Coalition came to power in 2011.
According to the NSW Report on Native Vegetation 2013-141 the average annual rate of National Park additions under the Coalition to 2013-14 is just 9,753ha—a 95% reduction on the previous six-year average of 173,965ha.2
Large numbers of the Wild Horse, a farm-animal escapee, are severely impacting the water catchment wetlands of the Australian Alps, including right across Kosciuszko National Park. In 2014, 35% of the Alps wetlands had been damaged. These high mountain wetlands are the very heart of the headwater catchment sources for our mightiest rivers, the Murray, Murrumbidgee and the Snowy and regrettably they are also a preferred grazing area for these heavy stock animals. Numbers of Wild Horses have grown from about 2000 to more than 6000 in just 11 years and they are causing great damage to the catchments. The NSW Government, in response to these threats has launched, in May 2016, a draft Wild Horse Management Plan for consultation … a plan, amongst other things, to protect the water catchments.
Contributed by: James Baxter-Gilbert (PhD Student from Macquarie University, NSW)
The Australian Water dragon (Intellagama lesueurii) is a large lizard species common along the eastern coast of Australian ranging from Queensland to Victoria. There are two subspecies described: the Eastern Water Dragon (Intellagama lesueurii lesueurii) living in the northern extent of the range, and the Gippsland Water Dragon (Intellagama lesueurii howittii) living in the south1. The males of this species are larger in size and will defend a territory, displaying a bright red chest coupled with head-bobbing and arm-waving to communicate to other males to stay away. Females will regularly mate with multiple males to ensure genetic diversity of her eggs; a single clutch of eggs may have 2-3 different fathers2 divided between 6-18 eggs.