Spotlight on Redlands' threatened species after damning UN report

AT RISK: Species of shorebirds native to the Redlands are facing extinction.
AT RISK: Species of shorebirds native to the Redlands are facing extinction.

A TOTAL of 67 Redlands plant and animal species are listed by scientists as rare and threatened.

These include the endangered loggerhead turtle, as well as the hawksbill turtle and the koala, both of which are listed as vulnerable.

Endangered species, including those in the Redlands, are in the spotlight following the release of a UN report which found nearly onemillion plant and animal species were facing extinction, many within decades.

According to the report, the global extinction rate was tens to hundreds of times higher now than the average rate over the past 10 million years.

It also found most of the earth's land and marine environment had been severely altered by humans and there had been a significant increase in consumption of materials per capita since 1980.

Wetlands were some of the habitats most affected, with more than 85 per cent of wetlands that were present in 1700 lost by 2000.

At a rally opposing Walker Corp's planned Toondah Harbour development on Saturday, filmmaker Randall Wood said shorebirds were under pressure across the country because of shoreline reclamation.

"It is a choice between development and these birds existing," he said.

A key concern about the Toondah project for rally hosts BirdLife Australiawas the eastern curlew, one of five bird species native to the Redlands with an Australian conservation status as critically endangered.

These species have a high risk of extinction in the wild in the immediate future.

Among them is the regent honeyeater, found between south-eastern Queensland and Victoria, which is critically endangered with an estimated population of between 800 and 1200.

Other shorebirds facing extinction include the great knot and the curlew sandpiper.

The swift parrot is also at risk.

AT RISK: The koala is listed as vulnerable.

AT RISK: The koala is listed as vulnerable.

Among the report's recommendations for maintaining remaining habitats and mitigating further damage was to protect key biodiversity areas and to ensure ecological connectivity within urban spaces.

UNESCO director Audrey Azoulay said the report highlighted the need for drastic change in human activity and lifestyles.

"The present generations have the responsibility to bequeath to future generations a planet that is not irreversibly damaged by human activity," she said.