Birds Australia published its annual State of Australia’s Birds report Monday, writes Birdlife International.
Over 8,300 islands occur within Birds Australia’s jurisdiction, and island birds are sensitive due to their restricted range and factors such as climate change and invasive species. As a result, 58% of Australia’s currently listed 132 threatened birds are islanders. Add to that a lack of knowledge about the island’s wildlife and you get a sad story of biodiversity loss.
However, there’s hope. A consortium of caring organizations including WWF Australia and Birds Australia are working to save the birds and other biodiversity. They have published a National Island Biosecurity Initiative, which is a proposal to build biosecurity and ecosystem health on Australia’s many islands. High risk islands will have an individual plan while lower risk islands will share a regional plan. Species importation will be more controlled, and islands with invasive species will be slated for regular surveillance. Island managers will be trained, and ready capability including equipment will be established. Overall, the plan will likely cost $1 million over 3 years, which seems to be quite reasonable given the cost of many projects in today’s dollars.
Let’s hope that the National Island Biosecurity Initiative is adopted and Australia’s island life will survive.