Threatened species recovery

There are a large number of threatened species in the ACT, with a number of these listed as threatened at the National level. The recovery of threatened species in this plan has been prioritised in alignment with the Australian Threatened Species Strategy and priority ACT threatened species which continue to decline or are a priority for additional funding.

National Threatened Species

Map showing known habitat of priority threatened species Desired outcomes

To support recovery of threatened species listed in the Australian Government Threatened Species Strategy that occur in the ACT. This national strategy identifies 20 mammals, 20 birds and 30 plants.

Priority areas

Investment will focus on areas where threatened priority species exist in the ACT, or where there is an opportunity to expand their range. Occurrence records of threatened species in the ACT are indicated in the adjacent Threatened Species Prioritisation map.

Future investment

The following threatened species have been listed in line with the National Threatened Species Strategy:

The Eastern Bettong and Eastern Quoll are extinct from the wild in the ACT and therefore do not have specific Threatened Species Action Plans. However, they have been reintroduced into Mulligans Flat Woodland Sanctuary as part of a research and conservation program.

Building on existing investment

Activities for recovery of threatened species are guided by ACT and National Action Plans. It is recognised that management of some of these species requires cross-border collaboration in partnership with the NSW Government.

ACT Threatened Species

Desired outcomes

The ACT Nature Conservation Act 2014 and associated Threatened Species Action Plans define the desired outcomes for each of the Threatened Species and Ecological Communities in the ACT.

Priority areas

Consultation for the Natural Resource Management Investment Plan identified that many of the Threatened Species in the ACT were already receiving investments through other sources and that:

  • further investment in most threatened plant species may not improve the efficacy of current interventions until current initiatives, for example trial translocations, are assessed
  • the most effective strategy to improve the trajectory of many species, particularly birds, reptiles and invertebrates, is to manage threats and improve condition of the habitat of these species - woodlands and grasslands in particular
  • two specific priority species were identified as requiring further investment to ensure their proper management and recovery - the Grassland Earless Dragon and the Pink-tailed Worm-lizard.

Future investment focus

On-ground management and survey of Pink-tailed Worm-lizard and Grassland Earless Dragon habitat.

Building on Existing Investment (2013 to 2018)

Threatened Species Action Plans outline conservation and protection proposals for the species or community concerned or proposals to minimise the effect of threatening processes. The primary objective is to maintain for the long term, viable, wild populations of each species, or samples of the ecological community, as components of the indigenous biological resources of the ACT.

Grassland Earless Dragon

Desired outcomes

  • Establish and maintain a successful captive breeding program for purposes of reintroduction
  • Conserve all ACT populations, managing the species and it's habitat to maintain the potential for evolutionary development in the wild
  • Enhance the long-term viability of populations through management of adjacent grassland to increase habitat area and connect populations

Map of known grassland earless dragon populatins Priority areas

The adjacent map shows the locations of known populations of Grassland Earless Dragons. Sites for possible species reintroduction will be dependent upon the genetics of the individuals to be translocated either from a captive colony or between wild populations, on the availability of appropriate habitat and quarantine considerations.

Future investment focus

The Grassland Earless Dragon is a endangered species that once occurred across grasslands from Bathurst to Melbourne, but is now only found in a few remnant grasslands in the ACT and the nearby Monaro Plains in NSW.

In the ACT, populations were significantly impacted by overgrazing and drought from 2006 to 2008. As a consequence, populations dramatically declined and some have even been lost. Recovery of remaining populations will depend on appropriate management of habitat, however suitable habitat may remain unoccupied due to localised extinction and a lack of connectivity to extant populations. Reintroduction may be the only option for recovery at these locations of potential habitat. As part of the reintroduction strategy, Captive Breeding facilities could be developed and housed in a university or government breeding facility.

Grassland earless dragon To support the recovery of this species, ACT NRM will seek to support:

  • captive breeding and reintroduction of Grassland Earless Dragons into ACT reserves
  • targeted habitat restoration interventions
  • collaborative actions across the known range of Grassland Earless Dragons in ACT and NSW, such as surveys of abundance and distribution, and translocation trials.

Building on existing investment (2013 to 2018)

The ACT Government, University of Canberra and other researchers have invested significant efforts into captive breeding and genetics research, but have yet to achieve a level of breeding success that will support a captive breeding population and translocation in the future.

Pink-tailed Worm-lizard

Map showing pink-tailed worm-lizard hotspots in and around the ACT Desired outcomes

Improved condition of known Pink-tailed Worm-lizard habitat, particularly river corridors, and identification of other PTWL hotspots in the ACT and surrounding areas as appropriate.

Priority areas

The adjacent map identifies three priority categories for managing threats in known Pink-tailed Worm-lizard habitat hotspots:

  • Priority 1 - High population density
  • Priority 2 - Moderate population density
  • Priority 3 - Low population density

These are based on Pink-tailed Worm-lizard occurrence, weed data, and expert opinion. The map has also identified priority areas for further surveys in areas that may potentially contain populations of Pink-tailed Worm-lizard, and survey effort of these sites that are threatened by weed invasion will be further prioritised.

Future investment focus

# On-ground management to recover areas of Pink-tailed Worm-lizard habitat through targeted weed control and enhancement of rocky areas in river corridors, and mapping of potential habitat areas for Pink-tailed Worm-lizard. Priority for surveys will be given to areas under threat from weed invasion.

Building on Existing Investment (2013 to 2018)

Known populations of Pink-tailed Worm-lizard are closely monitored and significant habitat restoration is currently occurring in environmental offset areas including the Molonglo Corridor.