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 understand what led to the bat’s demise in one case and (hopefully) the recovery of a parrot in another, we analysed the decision process underlying the management of both species. Based on this, we’ve come up with 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 extinctions will occur.
Martin, T. G., S. Nally, A. Burbidge, S. Arnall, S. T. Garnett, M. W. Hayward, L. Lumsden, P. Menkhorst, E. McDonald-Madden, and H. P. Possingham. 2012. Acting fast helps avoids extinction. Conservation Letters DOI: 10.1111/j.1755-263X.2012.00239.x.
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