Conservation havens have averted the extinction of 13 native mammal species, a new study from the University of Queensland has found.
UQ’s Professor Sarah Legge was part of 28 member team from the Threatened Species Recovery Hub, who tracked the effectiveness of the havens.
“Predation by feral cats and foxes is the main reason that Australia has the worst mammal extinction record of modern time,” Professor Legge said.
“About 80 Australian islands are naturally cat and fox-free havens, and this has prevented some extinctions.”
An example is the greater stick-nest rat, which became extinct on mainland Australia, but survived on the Franklin Islands off South Australia, locations not reached by foxes or cats.
“Since the 1980s additional havens have been created in Australia by eradicating feral animals from islands or from within large fenced areas on the mainland, and threatened animals have been moved to these havens to put them out of reach of introduced predators.
“As of early 2018, we had 101 island havens covering 2152 square kilometres and 17 fenced havens covering 346 square kilometres.”