Australia

Australia's critically endangered species list grows

Leadbeater's possum will remain on Australia's critically endangered species list. (AAP)

Five species of frog have been added to Australia's critically endangered species list, joining Victoria's Leadbeater's possum.

The Leadbeater's possum, which has been threatened by logging activity, will remain on the nation's critically endangered species list and five types of frog will be added, the federal environment minister has announced.

Sussan Ley said her decision on Victoria's animal emblem will ensure the tiny nocturnal marsupial, which risks extinction within 30 years, gets the protection it needs.

"I'm encouraged by the forestry industry's willingness to engage in the possum's survival - indeed they have invested heavily in research of the possum to ensure they abide by the terms of their regional forestry agreement," she said in a statement on Monday.

"It is this agreement that places a 200-metre barrier around all nesting trees, those with hollows, to protect the populations we know about, and provide much-needed data on those that don't."

The Leadbeater's possum is only found in central Victoria and was believed extinct until it was rediscovered in 1961.

The possum, and the vulnerable greater glider, dwell in old growth forests in the central highlands region where VicForests logging operations take place.

Bellenden Ker nursery frog
Bellenden Ker nursery frog.
Wet Tropics Management Authority

Ms Ley says it's important to strike the right balance between the timber industry and conservation.

"I look forward to a recovery plan that takes into account the needs of that timber industry," she told ABC AM.

Australian Greens senator Janet Rice says the minister's decision confirms the possum is on the brink of extinction.

Senator Rice says any logging near its habitat should be halted immediately, calling on the government to fully fund and implement a recovery plan.

"Minister Ley must now unequivocally rule out backing the Australian Forest Products Association's proposed delays to a recovery plan to conduct further 'studies'," she said.

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Rare baby gorilla born at Taronga Zoo Sydney
Rare baby gorilla born at Taronga Zoo Sydney

"Otherwise, the extinction of the Leadbeater's possum will be on her and her government's head."

Meanwhile, five types of frog have been classed as critically endangered including the elegant frog, rattling nursery frog, Mount Elliot nursery frog, mountain-top nursery frog and the Bellenden Ker nursery frog.

The tapping nursery frog is now considered an endangered species.

Ms Ley also added the white-throated needletail to the vulnerable category of birds but has removed the plant salt myoporum from the threatened list.

The minister says it's disappointing Australia was high on the list for endangered and critically endangered species in a recent United Nations report.

"Australia is a fragile continent and the decision I've made today in listing additional endangered species underscores our government's commitment to threatened species," she said.

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