A large number of Victoria's native flora and fauna are threatened as a result of past and present land use, the impact of weeds and pest animals and other disturbances. Many threats occur across the landscape, with parks providing the only refuge for some communities and species.
Parks Victoria works with the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) and community groups to manage threats and protect endangered species.
Importance of threatened species
Every organism plays a particular role in the ecosystem. If one disappears, it can have a flow on effect to other species.
Many people gain enjoyment and satisfaction knowing that we have a diverse range of species. Even if they never see one of these animals or plants, it can bring enjoyment just knowing that they exist.
There is also a growing trend in tourism around endangered species. Many people enjoy activities like bird watching and are excited when they see a rare or endangered species.
Threats to species
Animals and plants become extinct or threatened when their habitats change or are destroyed. Habitats are made up of things they need to survive: space, light, water, food, shelter and a place to breed. If one of those things is gone, it will be hard for the species to survive.
Human activity that results in pollution, introduction of weeds and pest animals, clearing of native vegetation, damming rivers and so on, destroy and change habitats.
Protecting threatened species
Parks Victoria continually develops and monitors land management to protect the Victorian landscape ensuring healthy habitats for both plants and animals.
Government legislation and policies provide protection to all native plant and animal species. Further legislation specifically aimed at protecting threatened species is in place on a state, national and global level.
The Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DELWP) are responsible for determining the conservation status of species that have special protection under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act.
Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 (Vic)
For most species listed under this act, DELWP develops an Action Statement (management plan). This outlines what steps will be taken to help this species survive.
Actions might include erecting fences to stop foxes entering the species' habitat or setting aside conservation areas to allow the species the space they need to breed.
Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999
This Federal act provides a framework to protect and manage nationally and internationally important flora, fauna, ecological communities and heritage places.
Australia is signatory to international agreements which are aim to protect threatened species and habitats. As signatories to these agreements, Australia agrees to pass laws like those listed above to ensure our threatened species and habitats are protected.