Unique Australians like the Mountain Pygmy-possum, Baw Baw Frogs and Alpine Skinks (they’re lizards) are critically endangered due to a number of factors, including global warming.
Zoos Victoria’s reproductive biologist, Dr Marissa Parrott, is part of the team fighting to save our most vulnerable wildlife. She works with a wide range of species with a special focus on possums, frogs, native mice, Tasmanian Devils and the Eastern Barred Bandicoot.
While there are many unknowns regarding global warming, she says our critically endangered alpine fauna could become a climate change casualty. “For example, the Mountain Pygmy-possum hibernates under snow every winter. Without a good snow layer, the possums won’t be able to hibernate and won’t survive.”
Other symptoms of climate change, such as more frequent and intense bushfires destroying natural habitat, could also prove a factor in their demise.
There are always ‘natural’ losses of animals (known as the background extinction rate). But over the past century the world’s vertebrates have become extinct 114 times faster than the background rate. Add plants to that and it’s up to 1,000 times higher!
There is no doubt human activity is playing a big part, “We’re losing a huge amount of biodiversity in our lifetime and we all have to work together to save what we still have. Extinction is forever.”
Often the last hope between extinction and survival is zoos which are now playing a vital role in saving endangered species through breeding and insurance programs.
As the world’s first certified, carbon neutral zoos, Zoos Victoria is definitely walking the walk when it comes to its commitment to saving our wildlife.
So too is Marissa, who’s also made a personal commitment to lightening her footprint. “It’s simple – reduce, reuse and recycle where possible, make sure you turn off lights and appliances when not in use, only consume certified sustainable palm oil, keep our environment and waterways rubbish free.
“If we all make small changes, we can make a better future for the animals of the world, and our children will reap the benefits of a healthier environment rich in beautiful wildlife.”
Play your part. Combat climate change and save our wildlife. Make the TAKE2 pledge today.
You might like to read this too: Renewing the bush after Black Saturday's destruction
Zoos go wild for TAKE2