Wings on King group warns: ‘We may have lost the King Island brown thornbill and the King Island scrubtit already’
Thu 24 May 2018 08.00 BSTLast modified on Thu 24 May 2018 08.01 BST
Residents of King Island in Tasmania want the federal government to intervene to try to stop two bird species from going extinct.
The King Island brown thornbill and the King Island scrubtit were recently identified as numbers one and three on a list of Australian bird species most likely to go extinct in the next 20 years if nothing was done.
Volunteers with the island’s natural resource management group, with help from Birdlife, applied for federal funding last year but were unsuccessful.
It is unclear how many endangered thornbills are on the island because they are difficult to detect. They were last seen by volunteers in 2015.
The most recent scientific monitoring of the scrubtit put its numbers at fewer than 50 and found major threats were habitat destruction, fire and poor fire management, and acid run-off in forest soils.
The small King Island community has been trying for years to get state and federal governments to help the little brown birds and warn that without emergency help the species could go the way of the bramble cay melomys, a mammal species that went extinct because officials were too late to act.