The Richmond Birdwing butterfly (Ornithoptera richmondia) is one of Australia’s biggest and most spectacular butterflies. Just 100 years ago, these butterflies were abundant throughout greater Brisbane. Today they are gone. Not entirely extinct, but no longer in Brisbane. The reason is more than just building a city. It’s a story of habitat loss, isolation and invasive species.
We can give them the chance to return and we’ll explain how here.
When animals invade new places they either sink, swim, or just get along. Unfortunately, when an invader does well in its new land, it can have devastating consequences for the native animals and plants. Suddenly there is a new competitor or predator in the midst and the natives don’t have the skills, spines or teeth to compete or defend themselves. Evolution works over many generations and there’s rarely time to adapt. But people can help.
Understanding how animals interact may help us tip the ‘balance’ in favour of native Australian animals. Here’s one example from the ongoing battle against the invasive cane toad (Bufo marinus – a native of South America). Can meat ants and cat food slow them down?
Ecological islands can help bring species back from the brink of extinction. New Zealand’s Department of Conservation created pest free island refuges for some of New Zealand’s most endangered fauna, including Malherbe’s parakeet (Cyanoramphus malherbi) read on to find out how its going.