Threatened Species Commissioner
During a recent visit to Christmas Island, my team member Sebastian spent time assessing opportunities to recover the critically endangered Christmas Island flying-fox, one of 20 mammals identified for recovery under Australia's #ThreatenedSpecies Strategy that I am implementing with the support of Minister Josh Frydenberg.
The Christmas Island flying-fox is thought to be the last remaining native mammal on the island and, just a few years ago, scientists feared the species may be close to #extinction. Over the past 30 years, the population of the flying-fox fell to dangerously low levels. That's why in 2015, the Australian Government targeted it for recovery. Work is now underway to save the species.
Intrepid scientists from the CSIRO , Western Sydney University , The Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney and Taronga Zoo 's Australian Registry of Wildlife Health have spent the last few weeks searching for the flying-foxes in the dense Christmas Island jungle. These nectar and fruit loving animals have been carefully caught in purpose built nets and given a quick check-up, tagged and released. This video shows a flying-fox recovering from its check-up with a drink of juice.
This work is building a picture of how they feed, breed and travel around the island. And the news is positive with the latest population survey suggesting that numbers are stabilising.
The Australian Government, through Parks Australia , has contributed $500,000 towards a project to eradicate of #FeralCats on Christmas Island and tackle rats and crazy ants. Thanks to this, and the work of scientists, these exquisite little animals are being given the best chance to recover.