Australian wildlife news, good and bad

Bronzeback Snake-lizard, rediscovered after 111 years. Image courtesy of Peter McDonald

From Wildlife Extra:

Two mammals and a bird declared extinct in Australia’s Northern Territory – Lizard rediscovered

Northern Territories revised Threatened Species List

December 2012. The rare bronzeback snake-lizard is one of 44 species added to the revised Classification of Wildlife, also known as the NT threatened species list.

Dr Simon Ward, Director of Species Conservation with Australian Northern territories Department of Land Resource Management (DLRM), said there were 73 changes to the list of threatened species as part of the 2012 revision.

“The new Classification of Wildlife includes 73 changes to the threatened species lists, seeing 44 species added to the list, 13 species removed from the list, 12 species increasing in conservation concern and four species decreasing in conservation concern,” Dr Ward said.

Rediscovered snake-lizard

“One of the additions to the endangered category is the bronzeback snake-lizard, which had not been seen in the Territory for more than 110 years. The species was moved from the data deficient category to the endangered list after Peter McDonald (Technical Officer DLRM) located 18 of the legless-lizards at the upper Coglin Creek Catchment in 2008.

“This is an amazing discovery and has provided us with invaluable information about the species, so we can no longer consider it Data Deficient.

“Another positive result is the improvement of Gouldian Finch populations in the Top End. The species’ status has been downgraded from endangered to vulnerable after several years of research and better land management; particularly fire management around nesting areas like the Yinberrie Hills.

“The NT Herbarium, within DLRM, also made a big effort to classify many of our lesser known species. This was driven by recent guideline changes and resulted in the addition of five plant species to the threatened category and 65 more plant species now listed as near threatened.

Two mammals and a bird declared extinct

“Unfortunately two mammal species and one bird species were formally listed as extinct as part of the 2012 revision, though they were last seen in the first half of last century, bringing the total number of NT species listed as extinct to 18.

“Although the revision resulted in an overall increase in the number of species considered threatened in the NT, DLRM will now work toward recovery plans, in an effort to protect our most vulnerable species from extinction in the Territory.”

The NT Classification of Wildlife was developed in 2002 and is reviewed every five years, making the Territory the only jurisdiction in Australia that regularly conducts these types of comprehensive reviews.

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