• Open Access

Acting fast helps avoid extinction

Authors

  • Tara G. Martin,

    1. CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences, Ecosciences Precinct, 41 Boggo Rd, Dutton Park, Brisbane, Queensland 4102, Australia
    2. ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions, School of Biological Sciences, University of Queensland, St Lucia, Queensland 4072, Australia
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  • Simon Nally,

    1. Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, GPO 787 Canberra Australian Capital Territory 2601, Australia
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  • Andrew A. Burbidge,

    1. 87 Rosedale St, Floreat, Western Australia 6014, Australia
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  • Sophie Arnall,

    1. School of Animal Biology, The University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley, Western Australia 6009, Australia
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  • Stephen T. Garnett,

    1. Research Institute for Environment and Livelihoods, Charles Darwin University, Casuarina, Northern Territory 0909, Australia
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  • Matt W. Hayward,

    1. Australian Wildlife Conservancy, PO Box 432, Nichols Point, Victoria, 3501, Australia & Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa
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  • Linda F. Lumsden,

    1. Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research, Department of Sustainability and Environment, PO Box 137, Heidelberg, Victoria 3084, Australia
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  • Peter Menkhorst,

    1. Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research, Department of Sustainability and Environment, PO Box 137, Heidelberg, Victoria 3084, Australia
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  • Eve McDonald-Madden,

    1. CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences, Ecosciences Precinct, 41 Boggo Rd, Dutton Park, Brisbane, Queensland 4102, Australia
    2. ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions, School of Biological Sciences, University of Queensland, St Lucia, Queensland 4072, Australia
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  • Hugh P. Possingham

    1. ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions, School of Biological Sciences, University of Queensland, St Lucia, Queensland 4072, Australia
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  • Editor 
    Dr. Andrew Knight

Tara G. Martin, CSIRO GPO Box 2583, Brisbane QLD 4001, Australia. Tel: +61 7 3833 5727. E-mail: Tara.Martin@csiro.au

Abstract

Failure to act quickly on evidence of rapid population decline has led to the first mammal extinction in Australia in the last 50 years, the Christmas Island Pipistrelle (Pipistrellus murrayi). The fate of another iconic species, the migratory Orange-bellied Parrot (Neophema chrysogaster), monitored intensively for over 20 years, hangs in the balance. To inform future conservation management and decision making, we investigate the decision process that has led to the plight of both species. Our analysis suggests three globally relevant recommendations for minimizing species extinction worldwide: (1) informed, empowered, and responsive governance and leadership is essential; (2) processes that ensure institutional accountability must be in place, and; (3) decisions must be made whilst there is an opportunity to act. The bottom line is that, unless responsive and accountable institutional processes are in place, decisions will be delayed and extinction will occur.

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