Feral cats and foxes in Australia are destroying wildlife faster than the rest of the world

A baby Ring Tail Possum. Mark Nolan/Getty Images

Australian wildlife is declining at a higher rate than mammals in most regions of the world because they’re being hunted by introduced species, such as cats and foxes, gone feral.

Most declines in mammal biodiversity have been linked to habitat loss and over-hunting but it’s a different story in Australia.

John Woinarski of Charles Darwin University and colleagues reviewed more than 3,000 studies of Australian mammals.

The authors found that Australian species declined at a rapid pace relative to species in other countries, with more than 10% going extinct since European settlement in 1788.

Another 21% of species are threatened with extinction, suggesting that the historic extinction rate of one to two species per decade may remain constant, according to the authors.

The research is published in PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences).

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