Threatened Species Day - a day to reflect on what’s at stake within a World Heritage Area
When the Greater Blue Mountains Area was granted World Heritage status by the United Nations nearly 20 years ago, the nomination was accepted because of two outstanding features of the Blue Mountains region - its eucalypt / sclerophyll (hard leaved) ecosystems and its biodiversity, both of which are considered to be of global importance.
Throughout September, Blue Mountains City Council is celebrating the vast array of native plants and animals that call the Greater Blue Mountains region home. We are also highlighting the crucial role that Council and the broader community plays in helping to protect this biodiversity.
We are also using National Threatened Species Day on Monday, 7 September, to shine a spotlight on threatened species like the Blue Mountains Dwarf Mountain Pine, which like its better known Gondwanan cousin, the Wollemi Pine, has inhibited the Blue Mountains region for over 200 million years. However, unlike the Wollemi Pine, only 755 individual plants of the Blue Mountains Dwarf Mountain Pine have ever been recorded anywhere in the world, at only 7 locations in the upper Blue Mountains between Katoomba and Wentworth Falls.
Other highly endangered species whose numbers were recorded as part of the Blue Mountains Fauna Inventory include the Broad Headed Snake (31 recorded in 2019), Giant Burrowing Frog (18 recorded in 2016), Giant Dragonfly (134 recorded in 2015), Blue Mountains Water Skink (114 recorded in 2018), and Greater Glider (193 recorded in 2019). The Blue Mountains Fauna Inventory was a recent joint partnership between the Blue Mountains Bushcare Network and Blue Mountains City Council, with grant funding from the Greatery Sydney Local Land Services.
National Threatened Species is held on 7 September to mark the day in 1936 when the last Tasmanian Tiger died at Hobart Zoo. The death of this animal led to the thylacine species becoming extinct, which is a fate shared by more than 100 Australian animal and plant species over the past 200 years.
With the Blue Mountains alone having over 160 rare or threatened plants and animals, it is also a day to celebrate the amazing conservation work done via Council’s conservation and restoration programs – that are supported by hundreds of volunteers – including Bushcare, Remote Bushcare, Swampcare and the Bush Backyards programs.
Blue Mountains Mayor Mark Greenhill said: “By working together in our community we can achieve outcomes that have enormous benefits for our precious and unique environment.
“Recent unprecedented bush fires and the flooding natural disaster reminded us how vibrant, and how fragile our local environment is, and what is at stake if we fail to protect it and our rare and threatened plants and animals. That’s why Council takes its role as steward of our World Heritage Area so seriously.”
Find out more about Council’s conservation and restoration projects at: bmcc.nsw.gov.au/protecting-and-restoring-biodiversity.
Image: Blue Mountains Dwarf Mountain Pine.