Aus researchers develop app to better protect endangered species

Canberra, May 3 (IANS) Scientists from the University of Queensland (UQ) have developed an app that provides users with information on endangered species in their local areas and ways for everyday Australians to take action.

The app and website, called Threatened Australians, were released on Tuesday, which allows users to access information about the threatened and at-risk species in their area by simply inputting a postcode, reports Xinhua news agency.

UQ PhD candidate and creator, Gareth Kindler, said the first-of-its-kind application presents public data in an accessible and engaging way.

“Australia is lucky to have extensive national biodiversity data, but until now it hasn’t been very easy for all citizens to access this information,” he said.

Users have the ability to enter their postcode into the software which will then create a list of threatened animals in their local area, information on their main threats, and links to contact local politicians to express concern.

With Australia’s federal election fast approaching, the researchers said they hope the initiative will engage people in environmental issues when they head out to vote.

“It’s up to governments and elected representatives to implement the reform needed to safeguard the thousands of imperilled species in Australia,” said Kindler.

Since the last 200 years, more than 90 native animals have gone extinct, a number that grows every year with an estimated 1,700 plants and animals listed as threatened.

Early this year, the once thriving Koala joined this list as their population has declined sharply in recent years.

Co-creator of the project Professor James Watson said this list means that without action, these species are all but guaranteed to go extinct in the next 30 to 50 years.

“What we see with this data is there are threatened species across every single electorate, and that’s why this app is so important. It actually puts data in the hands of the general public.

“These are species that are iconic around the world, and yet they’re disappearing . once these species go, they can never be recovered,” he said.