The World Daily
Australian gang-gang cockatoo numbers fall

Photo: Australian gang-gang cockatoo 


By Patryk Krych | The World Daily | JULY 26th 2021 


Following the disastrous 2019-20 bushfire that had swept through Australia and caused the supposed death or displacement of at least a billion animals, it had been noted that the numbers of gang-gang cockatoo parrots had also been in a steady plummet.

The cockatoo species, often featured as the animal emblem of the Australian Capital Territory, are under threat of being placed on a threatened species list following the fires. Their numbers were already in decline before the fires, but after the disaster, it was found that their total population had been reduced by at least a fifth.

According to Sarah Legge, a scientist who sits on the threatened species scientific committee that recommended giving the species an endangered status, the bushfires had affected 36% of the birds’ nesting and foraging range.

“That would have potentially taken out nesting hollows and destroyed a lot of their foraging resources,” said Legge. “Any species that’s fire sensitive is going to really struggle.”

Due to the species’ large drop in population numbers, as well as the considerable damage done to their foreseen wellbeing combined with the growing threat that all birds are bound to face under the threat of climate change and increased bushfires, the committee has made the recommendation that the gang-gang cockatoos deserve an endangered classification.

“The population has declined by approximately 69 per cent in the last three generations, or 21 years,” said an Environment Department spokesman in Australia. “In addition to this decline, the species has suffered direct mortality and habitat loss during the 2019-20 bushfires. Between 28 to 36 per cent of the species' distribution was impacted by the fires.”

The gang-gang cockatoos are known to be rather small and grey in colour, largely found throughout the regions of South-Eastern Australia. They are a particularly common sight in Canberra, with the adult males often distinguishable from the females by the red feathers that grow on their faces.

There are currently at least 168 animal species in Australia that are classified as endangered, 55 of which are birds. The decision on whether or not the gang-gang cockatoos will be given and endangered status is expected to be reached on the April of 2022. 


“They are one of the least-understood cockatoo species in Australia,” said Stacey Taylor, the national gang-gang cockatoo working group co-ordinator. “The key threats to them have been the loss of breeding hollows in trees which they rely on to nest .. the situation is very concerning.”

Other species in Australia have also been on the endangered species waiting list, such as the koala, which is expected to have its endangerment status decision be announced later this year. Aside from the gang-gan cockatoo, there are at least 5 other bird species that have been recommended for a threatened status in Australia.

“A rigorous scientific assessment of the species threat status is undertaken by the threatened species scientific committee against criteria,” said the Environment Department spokesman. “In order for the gang-gang to be listed as threatened, it must meet at least one of the criteria. Climate change is identified as a current and future threat in the draft listing assessment and conservation advice.”

“The committee will include this consideration in the final assessment provided to the minister,” he added. 


By Patryk Krych | © The World Daily 2021 

Source: The Canberra Times