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NSW has a new ‘zero extinction’ target for native species

The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service is the first in Australia to make a commitment like this

Alannah Le Cross
Written by
Alannah Le Cross

You can get excited to see many more native critters on your future bushwalks around the state. The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service has set a zero extinctions target, making it the first national parks agency in Australia to make such a commitment, and one of the first globally.

“The loss of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystems is increasing at an alarming rate. I want to turn our national parks into a fortress for our biodiversity,” said environment minister Matt Kean.

Announced on National Threatened Species Day, September 7, the target will apply to all parklands in NSW. It is a response to the mass destruction caused by the major bushfires of 2019-2020, and the continued decline of threatened plants and animals and Australia’s status as the country with the highest rate of mammal extinctions. 

The government has raised the protection status of almost 100 species to the same level of protection as the world-famous Wollemi Pine, whose ancient lineage has earned it the title of the “dinosaur tree”. The 92 species with powerful new protections include the koala, the brush-tailed rock-wallaby, the smoky mouse, the eastern bristlebird and the grey grasswren. 

“Globally, one million species face extinction over the coming decades and, as international biodiversity negotiations continue, everyone needs to aim high,” said Kean.

“Just as we have a net-zero emissions target, we now also have a target of zero extinctions for our national parks, and are aiming to improve and stabilise the on-park trajectory of threatened species by 2030,” said environment minister Matt Kean.

A further 221 sites will be given special protected status, being dubbed Assets of Intergenerational Significance, to try to ensure their survival for future generations. You can check out an interactive map of these areas here.

The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service has released a detailed framework for threatened species protection, which includes a feral predator-free project (so get ready to lock up your moggy). 

Elsewhere, we can look forward to platypuses being reintroduced to the Royal National Park just south of Sydney.

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