Queensland’s freshwater wildlife is under siege

Save Freshwater Wildlife EOFY 2024

31 May 2024

Queensland’s treasured freshwater ecosystems are facing a crisis. Wildlife Queensland urgently asks for help to raise $100,000 by 30 June to protect these vital habitats and their unique wildlife.

The plight of freshwater ecosystems

Queensland’s creeks, streams, rivers and wetlands are under severe threat from pollution, urban development, invasive species and climate change. These factors have combined to create an unprecedented risk of extinction for many species that call these waterways home. Alarmingly, 84% of the world’s freshwater species have been lost in the last 50 years, and the rate of species extinction is now hundreds of times higher than the natural baseline.

Ecologist and Wildlife Queensland council member Dr Wade Hadwen emphasises, “Queensland’s freshwater waterways and the incredible wildlife that live in them are being ravaged by climate change, droughts and floods, runoff, and pollutants including heavy metals, pesticides, and microplastics. It’s fair to say they are under siege.”

Many species at risk

Several species are at risk, including Australia’s version of the otter, the rakali (Hydromys chrysogaster). The native rodent faces habitat destruction from building booms where increased stormwater runoff threatens to destroy rakali nests, wash away their food sources and disrupt their breeding.

Similarly, the prehistoric Australian Lungfish in the Mary River is being decimated by invasive tilapia fish. In the Wet Tropics, the Australian lace-lid treefrogs are battling the invasive chytrid fungus in their rainforest streams.

The platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) is another native animal under threat. Along with pollution, urban expansion, and invasive plants, Queensland’s platypuses face another fatal threat: opera house nets (enclosed yabby traps). These nets are used to catch freshwater crustaceans, but tragically, they also drown platypus, rakali, turtles, water dragons and other aquatic life.

Doubling the impact

To combat these threats, Wildlife Queensland has launched an appeal for urgent tax-deductible donations, which will be matched dollar-for-dollar by a generous donor if given by 30 June. This doubling effect means that every donation will have twice the impact, providing critical resources to protect and conserve freshwater wildlife.

How donations will help our waterways

With the funds raised, Wildlife Queensland aims to:

  • Expand cutting-edge environmental DNA (eDNA) monitoring to identify and protect vulnerable platypus populations.
  • Conduct a statewide eDNA biodiversity survey to detect other at-risk aquatic species.
  • Advocate for stronger environmental protections from the government.
  • Launch educational campaigns about the threats posed by opera house nets and other human activities.

Dr Tamielle Brunt, Wildlife Queensland’s PlatypusWatch Project Officer, stresses the need for comprehensive monitoring: “It’s been over 20 years since the last state-wide census of platypus in Queensland. With your support, we can expand our monitoring efforts and take necessary actions to protect these incredible animals.”

Join the cause

Queensland’s freshwater wildlife needs urgent help, and every contribution counts. Donations can be made directly through Wildlife Queensland’s website, with the assurance that every dollar will be doubled if donated by 30 June.

Together, we can ensure that Queensland’s irreplaceable freshwater ecosystems and their extraordinary wildlife are preserved for future generations.

To donate, visit Wildlife Queensland’s donation page.


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