Director of National Parks
Final report on Christmas Island's biodiversity
8 September 2010
Download the Media Release
- Final report on Christmas Island's biodiversity media release (PDF -30KB) - a html version of this release is below
A report on Christmas Island's biodiversity has highlighted the environmental threats facing the island and recommended additional actions to protect its native species.
The final report from the Christmas Island Expert Working Group was released today.
The Australian Government commissioned the report in 2009, establishing the Expert Working Group to urgently investigate the status of the critically endangered Christmas Island pipistrelle bat. After the group's interim report was published in July 2009, the study was expanded to cover the full range of biodiversity issues on the island.
Like the interim report, today's final report highlights pervasive and increasing threats to the island's biodiversity. It reinforces the need to look beyond individual species to maintain the health of the entire ecosystem.
The final report contains several additional recommendations, including the following:
- A two-year cap on the continued search for the pipistrelle, now feared extinct.
- Expansion of helicopter baiting to control yellow crazy ants over larger areas of the island.
- Establishment of a Christmas Island Conservation Research Centre.
- Research into rat eradication and major threats to the endemic flying fox.
- Continuation of captive breeding for native reptiles and consideration of a flying fox captive breeding program.
- Experimental reintroduction of red crabs to ghost forests on the island.
- Establishment of an off-island collection of Christmas Island invertebrates.
- Better management of roads to prevent crab deaths.
- Careful management and monitoring of important habitat covered by existing or proposed commercial leases.
- Improved quarantine control.
- Improved island governance, with a focus on coastal marine waters.
Since the release of the interim report, many of the Expert Working Group's recommendations have been acted on, supported by $1.5 million in additional funding. They include:
- A rescue mission to try and save the last remaining Christmas Island pipistrelles.
- Continued monitoring to detect any remaining pipistrelles.
- Aerial baiting of crazy ants, with a success rate of more than 99 per cent in the targeted super-colonies.
- Ongoing research into a bio-control option for crazy ants.
- A research team investigating whether disease is an important factor in the decline of several native species, including the flying fox.
- An island-wide management plan for the control of black rats and feral cats (almost complete).
- A captive breeding program for native reptiles, including the successful hatching of Lister's geckos until recently thought extinct.
For a copy of the final report visit www.environment.gov.au/parks/christmas/final-report.html
For the interim report and the government's response visit www.environment.gov.au/minister/garrett/2009/mr20090701a.html
Media contact: Margot Marshall, 02 6274 2846