10 of the most endangered animals in Australia (2024)

The species is listed as endangered by the IUCN and the Australian government and has a decreasing population. The main threat is a disease called devil facial tumor disease—a cancerous disease that is highly contagious and fatal. They are also victims of roadkill and dog attacks, and in some areas they are persecuted by humans. Our partners at Bonorong Wildlife Hospital frequently treat Tasmanian devils in need of veterinary care.

3. Northern hairy-nosed wombats

Wombats are marsupial members of the family Vombatidae, and interestingly are related to koalas. There are three species of wombat. The northern hairy-nosed wombat is recognised as critically endangered by the IUCN and the Australian government. They are scarcer than the giant panda and the Sumatran tiger, with only 315 remaining individuals living in two small, protected areas of Queensland. This serves as a stark reminder of what can happen if we don’t protect the other, more abundant wombat species that are threatened by a disease called mange, agricultural activities, vehicles, droughts, floods, and fires.

4. Southern right whales

The southern right whale is a large baleen whale which visits southern Australian between late April and early November and is protected throughout Australian waters.

The main threats facing swift parrots include habitat loss, predation by other species, and the increasing impacts of climate change. In Tasmania, they search for hollows within mature blue gum and black gum trees to raise their young; however, these are becoming harder to find due to land clearing and bushfires.

Our partners in Tasmania at Bonorong Wildlife Hospital run the state’s first and only dedicated wildlife hospital, and the IFAW-supported veterinarian team has helped to give many swift parrots a second chance at life back in the wild over the years.

6. Western ringtail possums

The critically endangered western ringtail possum is an arboreal possum, spending most of its time feeding, resting, and socialising high in the forest canopy. They are only found in the southwestern part of Western Australia and have disappeared from most of their original range due to habitat loss from land clearing and logging and predators such as foxes and cats.

During heatwaves, the possums can be susceptible to burns on their paws as they try to find shelter by crossing hot surfaces. Severe burns can significantly challenge this arboreal species’ movements and climbing ability. IFAW provides emergency assistance to local rescue groupsto support the immediate veterinary treatment of the burns to allow these critically endangered animals the greatest chance to recover and be returned to the wild.

7. Silver-headed antechinus

Antechinus are small carnivorous marsupials that resemble mice. They are known for their lethal love life, as males will mate until they die. Many different species of antechinus can be found throughout Australia, with some seen taking up residence in marsupial dens installed at Two Thumbs Wildlife Sanctuary by IFAW and Habitat Innovation and Management in southern New South Wales.

The silver-headed antechinus is classified as endangered and is only known to be found in three parts of Queensland. They are at most risk of bushfires, climate change, and predation by invasive species. The black-tailed antechinus is also classified as endangered and faces similar threats to its silver-headed cousin.

8. Hawksbill turtles

A hawksbill turtle’s head ends in a sharp point resembling a bird’s beak, which is how it got its name. They’re known to breed along the Great Barrier Reef and nest in parts of the Northern Territory and Western Australia.

Like other species of sea turtles, the critically endangered hawksbill turtle contributes to marine ecosystems by transporting important nutrients within the ocean. They are at risk of international illegal wildlife trade, habitat loss, climate change, ingesting plastic, and human activities such as fishing. IFAW works closely with the Australian Seabird and Turtle Rescue to rescue and rehabilitate injured turtles that need care.

9. Mountain pygmy possums

The mountain pygmy possum is a an endangered, mouse-sized possum. It is the only hibernating marsupial and Australia’s only mammal that has adapted to live exclusively in the snow-covered alpine regions of Victoria and New South Wales.

It is listed as endangered by the Australian government and critically endangered by the IUCN due to the destruction and fragmentation of its habitat, climate change, predation by foxes and feral cats, and major declines of its primary food source—the bogong moth.

10. Greater gliders

The greater glider is Australia’s largest gliding mammal. They have long, furry tails and large, fluffy ears and are found in forests along Australia’s east coast. Greater gliders are dependent on hollow-bearing trees for shelter and nesting and mainly eat eucalyptus leaves. They are classified as endangered, with their main threat being habitat loss and fragmentation due to land clearing and bushfires.

In southern New South Wales, a greater glider was recently spotted at Two Thumbs Wildlife Sanctuary, which was destroyed by the Black Summer bushfires of 2019-2020. IFAW has been working with Habitat Innovation and Management to install nest boxes large enough to house greater gliders in an effort to bring them and other wildlife back to the property.

10 of the most endangered animals in Australia (2024)


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