Aussie celebrities band together to end wildlife extinction in powerful WWF-Australia video
Cody Simpson, Layne Beachley, Harry Kewell, Stephanie Rice and other influential Australian personalities have joined forces to advocate for stronger environmental laws and government action
To recognise National Threatened Species Day, WWF-Australia has today released a powerful video featuring Cody Simpson, Layne Beachley, Stephanie Rice, Harry Kewell, Victoria Lee and others, calling on all Aussies to take action to protect our beloved wildlife and their habitats.
The video reveals that Australia has the worst rate of mammal extinction in the world"a crisis expedited by the devastating 2019-20 summer, which saw extreme bushfires tear through more than 12 million hectares of natural habitats. Nearly three billion native animals"including 143 million mammals, 2.46 billion reptiles, 180 million birds, and 51 million frogs"were impacted by the fires.
The video coincides with the release of a new report commissioned by WWF-Australia and produced by ecological consultancy Biolink, which reveals the 2019-20 bushfires caused a 71 per cent median decline in koala populations across six locations on the north coast of NSW. The worst site affected was Kiwarrak, where researchers found no evidence that any koalas survived the summer blaze.
This year's National Threatened Species Day comes at a crucial time as Australia's Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act) undergoes a once-in-ten-year review. An interim report by the review panel found that Australia's laws are systemically failing to protect wildlife and their natural habitats, recommending an 'independent governing body' be established to oversee and enforce environmental laws. Despite the review's recommendation, the Australian Government has rejected the proposal.
WWF-Australia Partner, Layne Beachley said: "I believe it is so important to live in harmony with nature; caring for the environment is at the heart of everything I do. We can all do our part day-to-day to protect our environment, but now is the time for our government to do the right thing for nature and support the review's recommendations. Our environmental laws are failing our wildlife and we need to make a stand now to stop this extinction crisis."
WWF-Australia has been working with Partners Cody Simpson, Layne Beachley, Stephanie Rice, Harry Kewell and Victoria Lee to raise awareness about Australia's extinction crisis. For National Threatened Species Day, the organisation has also joined forces with Nicole Warne and DJ Tigerlily who, along with existing Partners, are urging the Australian Government to revisit its existing legislation and enforce stronger environmental laws.
"Our wildlife and wild places have recently endured a disastrous bushfire season, with over three billion native animals killed or displaced by the fires. Our wildlife needs our protection now more than ever. We have a once-in-a-decade opportunity to turn things around. With the help of our influential partners, we're asking all Australians to do their part and call on our leaders to strengthen our nature laws and ensure they are properly and independently enforced," said Rachel Lowry, WWF-Australia's Chief Conservation Officer.
Australians can help stop our wildlife extinction crisis by sending a message to their local MPs via the WWF-Australia website: https://www.wwf.org.au/get-involved/end-animal-extinction
Cody Simpson: "Growing up by the sea on Australia's Gold Coast has always made me feel at one with our natural environment. It's absolutely devastating to see iconic Australian wildlife species pushed closer to extinction as a result of the 2019-20 bushfire season. Our government needs to do better and step up to protect the animals that make Australia so unique. I encourage Australians to speak up alongside me and call on the government to protect our wildlife."
Layne Beachley: "I believe it is so important to live in harmony with nature; caring for the environment is at the heart of everything I do. We can all do our part day-to-day to protect our environment, but now is the time for our government to do the right thing for nature and support the review's recommendation. Our environmental laws are failing our wildlife and we need to make a stand now to stop this extinction crisis."
Stephanie Rice: "The health of our environment affects everything we do, from the food we put in our bodies to the species that are so iconic to our country. The bushfire season brought a heavy toll on our beautiful land and, as a country, we all need to do everything we can to protect it. My hope is that our government will do more to enforce our nature laws and, in doing so, protect our wildlife. Join us in the fight to strengthen our flagship nature laws and protect our environment."
Harry Kewell: "Australia made news around the world as the 2019-20 bushfires tore through our beautiful country. We saw heartbreaking images of burned kangaroos and dehydrated koalas. I hope that one day my kids will be able to see all of our amazing native animals in the wild, but in order for this to happen, our environmental protection laws need to be stronger."
Victoria Lee: "Growing up in Narrandera, in rural Australia, I understood from a very young age the importance of taking care of our environment"that it is our responsibility to preserve and live in harmony with nature. I have so many fond memories as a kid"going for walks spotting koalas, wallabies and echidnas with my brother and cousins. At the rate we're destroying habitat, who knows if amazing animals like koalas will be around in years to come. Now is the time to show our government that our beautiful wildlife matters to us."
About National Threatened Species Day
National Threatened Species Day is a national day held each year on 7 September to commemorate the death of the last remaining Tasmanian tiger (also known as the thylacine) at Hobart Zoo in 1936. The first Threatened Species Day was held in 1996 and was a concept developed by the Threatened Species Network, a community based program of WWF-Australia and the Commonwealth Government's Natural Heritage Trust, as a way to showcase Australian threatened species. Threatened Species Day aims to encourage greater community support and hands-on involvement in the prevention of further losses of Australia's unique natural heritage.
WWF's global mission is to stop the degradation of the planet's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature. WWF-Australia is part of the WWF International Network, the world's leading, independent conservation organisation.
In Australia and throughout the Oceanic region, WWF-Australia works with governments, businesses and communities so that people and nature can thrive within their fair share of the planet's natural resources.