Threatened species: Queensland's vanishing wildlife

Queensland has many different types of native plants and animals. Each is known as a species.

Some of our species have disappeared forever – they have become extinct, meaning they have not been located in the wild during the last 50 years. Others are threatened – they are in danger of becoming extinct if no effort is made to conserve them.

An endangered species is one in immediate danger of becoming extinct in the wild if the threats continue. A vulnerable species is one that will soon become endangered if threats to its survival continue. A rare species is one that occurs in small numbers but is not at present endangered or vulnerable, but is at risk.

Threats to Wildlife

Australia's wildlife is threatened by many natural changes. These usually take place over long periods of time. Some actions of humans however can have a more sudden effect on wildlife and lead to extinctions if continued. These threatening actions include:

Habitat destruction and change

Clearing of an animal's natural ‘home' (its habitat) is the greatest threat to its survival. Habitats can also be changed by fire, stock, soil compacting, road widening and dam building.

Introduced species

Species introduced to Australia from other countries prey on native species, compete with them for food and homes, spread exotic diseases, spread weed seeds and damage habitats. E.g. sheep, cattle, foxes, cats, tropical fish.

Exploitation

Activities such as over-utilisation (taking too many), poaching, killing and illegal trade can threaten wildlife.

Pollution

Pollutants such as fertilisers, pesticides, herbicides and chemical wastes can threaten wildlife.

Queensland Museum's Find out about... is proudly supported by the Thyne Reid Foundation and the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation.