35 Endangered Australian Animals Australia's Endangered Animals

Bilby

There are at least 300 endangered animals in Australia. These include well-known animals such as the koala, cassowary, and quokka. One Australian animal becomes extinct every five years.

An endangered animal is described as animal that is at risk of vanishing from the earth forever! This total disappearance is called extinction. Due to human activities, the number of species becoming extinct has accelerated at an alarming rate. Some species have become extinct in just a few years. So, if we humans don't look after our environment, many animals will be lost forever.

Listed below are 35 endangered animals of Australia. Your can also use the "quick search" button in the menu bar.

Koala Vulnerable

Koalas are cuddly tree-dwelling marsupials with large noses. They spend almost their entire lives in trees sleep up to 20 hours a day. There are around 330,000 koalas in the wild.

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Cassowary Endangered

Cassowaries are the world's most dangerous bird and also the second-largest bird. Less than 50,000 cassowaries survive in the wild. They may soon become extinct.

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Tasmanian Devil Endangered

Tasmanian devils are the world's largest carnivorous (meat-eating) marsupials. There are about 25,000 Tasmanian devils left in the wild on the island of Tasmania.

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Quokka Vulnerable

Quokkas look like the happiest animals in the world. About the size of a domestic cat, Only 4,000 survive on mainland Australia and 7,000 live on Rottnest island.

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Northern Wombat Critical

The northern hairy-nosed wombat is a burrowing marsupial is found in a small area of Queensland. Competition from cattle and sheep cause their decline. Only 250 survive in the wild.

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Gouldian Finch Endangered

Gouldian Finches are beautifully coloured grass finches. They were once found by the millions but are nearly extinct in the wild. They survive as popular domestic pets.

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Wallaby Vulnerable

endangered-rock-wallaby

Wallabies are agile to medium-sized hopping marsupials. Some, such as the rock wallaby, are endangered due to predation by introduced animals such as the fox, dog and cat.

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Blobfish Vulnerable

Blobfish have jelly-like bodies and live in the ocean at depths of over 1,000m where they look lip tadpoles. On land, its body collapses. Some claim that this fish is vulnerable.

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Dingo Vulnerable

Dingoes are lean medium-sized Australian wild dogs. The "pure" dingo breed is disappearing because of interbreeding with domestic dogs and the subsequent dilution of its gene pool.

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Corroboree Frog Critical

The corroboree frog, with yellow and black markings, is highly poisonous. This frog moves about by walking rather than hopping. There may be as few as 50 left in the wild.

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GIANT Cuttlefish Vulnerable

Giant cuttlefish can rapidly change colour, shape, and texture for camouflage. Cuttlefish are intelligent creatures. They are impacted by overfishing and habitat degradation.

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Antechinus Vulnerable

The antechinus is a ferocious little marsupial with a crazy sex life. It is similar in appearance to a mouse. It feeds on small insects. Some species of antechinuses are vulnerable.

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Greater Bilby Endangered

Greater bilbies are small, nocturnal, omnivorous marsupials with rabbit-like ears and pointy pink snouts. Introduced rabbits destroy their habitat, and foxes and cats kill them.

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Swift Parrot Critical

The Swift Parrot, also known as the Red-faced or Red-shouldered parrot, is a rather noisy bird and is the fastest parrot in the world. There are only 2,000 left.

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Numbat Vulnerable

Numbats are small marsupial anteaters that forage for termites during the daylight. Its long sticky tongues half as long as its body. One species became extinct in the 1960s.

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Great Barrier Reef Endangered

The Great Barrier Reef is the largest and most spectacular coral reef in the world. It is endangered by climate change.

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Leadbeater's Possum Critical

Leadbeater's Possums are fast-moving marsupials that live in the forest canopy. Once thought to be extinct until a few were rediscovered recently.

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Northern Quoll Endangered

The Northern quoll is the second-largest carnivorous marsupial. Feral cats and their eating of poisonous cane toads have caused their decline.

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Gilbert's potoroo Critical

Gilbert's potoroo is the world's rarest marsupial. It has long front limbs with which its digs for underground fungi. There are 30-40 animals left.

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Dugong Vulnerable

Dugongs are plant-eating marine mammals. They can grow to 3m and weigh 500 kgs. Commercial gillnet fishing is a major threat to dugongs.

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Bandicoot Endangered

Bandicoots are small omnivorous marsupials with pointy snouts, large hind feet, and hop. Many species are endangered.

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Night Parrot Critical

Night Parrots are small ground-dwelling nocturnal parrots. They are the world's most mysterious and elusive birds. Only 250 survive.

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Giant Clam Vulnerable

The Giant clam is the world’s largest sessile mollusc. It has large protruding blue iridescent lips. It is endangered because of harvesting by humans.

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Tree Kangaroo Vulnerable

Tree kangaroos are kangaroos that live in trees. They climb by wrapping the forelimbs around a tree and hopping up with their powerful hind legs.

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Snapping Turtle Critical

This turtle breathes through its anus, and it can remain submerged for days. It lives to over 100 years. Humans are destroying their habitat.

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Woylie Critical

The woylie is a nocturnal marsupial with a long tail which it wraps around a bundle of nesting material. 10-20,000 animals survive.

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Sea Lion Endangered

Australian sea lions have stocky bodies, a large head, and short narrow flippers. They hunt fish and squid. There are only about 10,000 left.

 

Handfish Critical

Handfish prefer to walk on their pectoral and pelvic fins rather than swim. They eat crustaceans and worms. They are critically endangered.

 

Whale Endangered

Humpback whales travel up from the Antarctic to give birth and feed their young. They can grow to 12 – 16 metres and weigh 36,000 kgs.

 

Plains Wanderer Critical

Plains wanderers are small quail-like birds that live in semi-arid grasslands. They prefer to run rather than fly and fall easy prey to foxes.

 

Eastern Bettong Vulnerable

The eastern bettong became extinct on the mainland in the 1920s because of the red fox and rabbit. A small number still survive in Tasmania.

 

What is Extinction? What does 'Extinct' Mean?

Photo: Extinct Dinosaur

Extinction means that there are no more of a particular type of plant or animal living anywhere in the world—they are extinct. A clear example of extinction is the dinosaurs. They disappeared from the face of the earth 65 million years ago. Extinction is an ongoing process of evolution. It is estimated that over 90% of all animals that ever lived since life began on the earth are now extinct. Extinction is usually a slow process that takes many hundreds, if not thousands of years.

In recent time, however, due to human activities, the number of species becoming extinct has accelerated at an alarming rate. Some species have become extinct in just a few years.

Photo: Extinct Tasmanian Tiger

In Australia, the Tasmanian tiger became extinct in just 100 years after European settlement. Similarly, in America, the passenger pigeon, which once numbered in the hundreds of millions, became extinct in less than a hundred years because of indiscriminate hunting by European settlers.

Remember, once they are gone, they are gone forever. That is extinction or to be extinct .

Learn About Extinct Australian Animals


Who Decides? Organisations that Determine Species Status

Many conservation organisations have their own classification criteria for determining a species extinction threat level. Everybody agrees on what extinction is, but they differ in their identification of the various stages leading to extinction.

The worldwide organisation for determining the status of an animal species is the International Union for the Conservation of Nature ( IUCN). This body regularly publishes its Red List of Threatened Species. In Australia, various federal and state environmental protection agencies also publish their own lists. The Australian Department of the Environment Endangered Australian Animals List identifies many Australian native animals are endangered and threatened with extinction.

Photo: IUCN Classification of animals

The diagram on the left is a simplified version of the IUCN classifications. Basically, there are three main categories. They range from Least Concern through Threatened to Extinct. The IUCN classification bundles Critical, Endangered and Vulnerable into a broader more general category labelled Threatened.

The general public and the media, however, seem to prefer the more evocative term "endangered' to mean threatened. We too prefer the term 'endangered', to mean these animals are in imminent danger of disappearing from the face of the earth.


What is an Endangered Animal? Definition of Endangered Species

An endangered species is a group of wild animals or plants that are in danger of becoming extinct, totally disappearing from the earth permanently.


What Causes an Animal to Become Endangered? What Factors Contribute to Animals Extinction

Animals and plants risk becoming endangered and eventually extinct because of circumstances they cannot cope with. These include natural disasters, climate change, human impacts, competition from introduced animals, and disease.

Natural Disasters

Cataclysmic events have occurred throughout the earth’s history. Sixty-five million years ago an asteroid killed the dinosaurs. The desertification of the Sahara and the drying up of Africa similarly had significant effects on species survival. These are naturally occurring events.

Climate Change

Photo: Polar bear on melted ice sheet

Photo: Coral bleaching

Changes in the world’s climate brought about by natural or human-induced changes can seriously affect the viability of animal species. For example, global warming and the consequent melting of the polar ice caps are threatening the future of polar bears. Closer to home, changes in sea temperature are believed to be contributing to the death of vast tracts of coral on the Great Barrier Reef.

Human Impacts

In recent time, with the growth in human populations and technology, the man-made contribution to species endangerment and annihilation has increased tremendously. We have contributed to species extinction by large scale habitat destruction and modification by agriculture, mining and urban growth, land clearing, destroying forests and the pollution of waterways, rivers, and the world’s oceans. Many animal species have also been significantly impacted by human commercial, recreational and other activities. These include commercial and recreational hunting, over-harvesting as in the case of fishing and whaling. For example, the koala almost became extinct because it was killed for its fur and the Tasmanian tiger was considered a pest and hunted to extinction.

Competition & Displacement by Introduced Species

Many animals were introduced into local environments without due consideration to their impact on local fauna. Cane toads, rabbits, red foxes and feral cats, for example, have become invasive and killed or displaced many native Australian animals.

Disease

Native animals also fall foul of diseases. For example, in recent time, koalas have been affected by chlamydia epidemics which has left many female kolas sterile. The Tasmanian Devil Tumour Disease has wiped out large numbers of the Tasmanian devil.


Types of Australian Species Endangered What Types of Animals Face Extinction?

Number of Endangered
Australian Animals

 

Critical

Endangered

Vulnerable

Extinct

Fish 7 16 24 -
Frogs 5 14 10 4
Reptiles 8 17 34 1
Birds 9 47 62 24
Mammals 5 34 >55 27
Other 23 17 >11 6
Total 57 161 196 62+

According to the Australian Department of the Environment's Endangered Australian Animals List, many Australian native animals are endangered and threatened with extinction. For example, even the cuddly koala is listed as vulnerable, the cassowary and night parrot are listed as endangered, and the gouldian finch and the 'bum breathing' white-throated snapping turtle as critical.

About 300 species of Australian animals are endangered. These animals may disappear from the face of the Earth forever. They will become extinct! Presently, one Australian animal becomes extinct every 5 years. Humans are responsible for this terrible situation.


Extinct Australian Animals Many native animals of Australia became extinct since humans arrived

Since the arrival of European settlers in 1788, Australia has lost numerous native animals and plants. The Tasmanian Tiger is a prominent example of a recently extinct Australian animal. The last died in captivity in 1936.

Learn About Extinct Australian Animals