In this undated photo provided by the Northern Territory Government, a Spotted Tree Goana is shown. Up to 45 rare and endangered animal species in an Outback region of northern Australia could become extinct in the wild within 20 years unless urgent action is taken to control introduced predators, a study released Wednesday, March 23, 2011 said. AP / Northern Territory Government, Alaric Fisher, HOBy KELLY DOHERTY, Associated Press
23 March 2011

Up to 45 rare species of wallaby, bandicoot and other Australian animals could become extinct within 20 years unless urgent action is taken to control introduced predators and other threats, scientists warned Wednesday.

Dozens of mammals, birds, lizards and other vertebrates in the remote northwestern Kimberley region are at risk from hunting by feral cats and from destruction of their native habitat by wild donkeys, goats and fires, a study of the conservation needs of the area shows.

"We're in the midst of a massive extinction event in Australia and the north has really been the last stronghold for many species of birds and mammals and reptiles," said Tara Martin, a co-author of the report by the government-funded Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization.

Nearly 30 percent of the endangered species identified in the study are unique to the Kimberley region, while others, like the golden bandicoot and golden-backed tree rat, have found the area to be their last refuge after being pushed into extinction elsewhere in the country.

"The Kimberley is really their last chance on Earth," Martin told The Associated Press. …

Extinction threat for 45 Australian species

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