It’s Threatened Species Day, So Here’s The Cute Critters We Need To Protect

Contributor: Senator Janet Rice

Like every Australian, I love our amazing and unique animals. But we’re facing an extinction crisis; we have 500 animals under threat of extinction – one of the highest extinction rates in the world. That’s really appalling.

That’s why the Greens initiated a Senate inquiry into Australia’s extinction crisis, and submissions close on Monday, September 10th. Over the coming months, the Greens and I will travel around the country holding hearings to shine a light on what is killing these threatened species and what needs to happen to protect them.

Here are 10 of my favourite Aussie animals that are facing extinction and are just too precious to lose.

1. Leadbeater’s Possum (critically endangered)

(Credit: Zoos Victoria.)

These cuties live in the hollows of old trees in Victoria’s mountain ash forests and are under threat from logging of native forests, mostly for woodchips, and bushfires. They are Victoria’s animal emblem.

2. Greater Glider (vulnerable)

These cuddly darlings are about the size of a cat and, as the name suggests, they glide between trees. How cool is that! They sleep during the day in hollows in old trees so logging these trees is a BIG problem for them.

(Ed’s note: these guys are also commonly known as ‘clumsy possums’ so they already win in my books.)

3. Hooded Plover (vulnerable)

Australians have a love affair with the coast. And so do Hooded Plovers, or “Hoodies” as they are known.

Unfortunately though, Hoodies nests are really lame – just a shallow depression on the sand so they are massively at risk from foxes, dogs running off-leash, and us humans. And, isouth-westst Victoria, racehorses! Which the government allow to train right near where the Hoodies nest. Madness!

4. Mountain Pygmy Possum (critically endangered)


How could you not love this face?

These palm-sized balls of adorable are under very real threat of extinction, with only around 2000 thought to be left in the wild. They live in snowy mountains and are Australia’s only hibernating marsupial.

5. Bunjil, Wedge-Tailed Eagle (endangered)

These iconic and majestic birds of prey are Australia’s largest with a wingspan of up to 2.5 metres!

Even though they’re a protected species, and revered in indigenous Australian mythology as a creator being, these eagles are still senselessly shot and poisoned.

6. Tiger Quoll (endangered)

(Credit: Bruce Thomson/Bush Heritage)

They may look cute, but Tiger Quolls can be pretty vicious! They’re the largest remaining carnivorous marsupial on the Australian mainland and they’re related to the extinct Tasmanian Tiger.

We mark Threatened Species Day every year on 7 September to commemorate the death of the last Tasmanian Tiger on 7 September 1936. We have to ensure the Tiger Quoll doesn’t have the same fate. Logging and land clearing is destroying their homes.

7. Helmeted Honeyeater (critically endangered)

Meeting a Helmeted Honeyeater! (Credit: Supplied)

I was so lucky to meet a Helmeted Honeyeater a few years ago! They are Victoria’s bird emblem – what does it say about Victoria that both our animal and bird emblems are critically endangered?

8. Tasmanian Devil (endangered)

They may love to eat rotting carcasses, but I reckon Tassie Devils are pretty awesome. They’re under threat because of a highly contagious face cancer that has wiped out entire populations, habitat destruction from logging and land clearing, and killed on our roads.

10. Quokka (vulnerable)

Gracing millions of Instagram feeds thanks to their curious nature and winning smile, the world-famous Quokka are undeniable superstars of Australia’s animal kingdom.

But they’re under threat from foxes and cats and having their homes destroyed by land clearing and logging. That’s not something to smile about.

10. Common Wombat (endangered)

We sure love our wombats! But agriculture, having to compete for food with rabbits, sheep and cattle and burrows being destroyed in logging operations are endangering these huggable barrels on four legs.

We have the highest rate of mammal extinctions in the world. The Greens will do everything we can to prevent us from losing any more of these threatened species. If you want to have your say on our extinction crisis you can make a submission by this Monday 10 September here.