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Which Aussie Mammal Will Take Home The Crown?

Australia is home to over 350 mammal species, providing diverse landscapes for mammal habitation.

However, Australia also holds the unfortunate distinction of having the highest animal extinction rate in the world. 

On today’s episode of The Science Briefing, Dr Sophie Calabretto and Cosmos Journalist Imma Perfetto discussed the Australian Mammal of the Year competition and why it is so important.

It is the second year of the competition in which people are invited to nominate and vote for their favourite native Australian mammals. 

The southern bent-winged bat won the competition last year, while this year, the focus of the competition has expanded to include highlighting the environments that mammals live in.

Perfetto said the initial idea of this competition was from Dr Euan Ritchie, a professor of wildlife ecology and conservation at Deakin University.

“Unfortunately, the 38 species have been driven to extinction since European colonisation, and we have a large number that are still threatened with extinction,” Dr Ritchie said.

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“I think it’s just a fantastic opportunity to learn how awesome our mammals are and how lucky we are to share the world with them, and also to realise that we need to do a lot better to take care of them as well.”

The nominated mammals will be divided into eight new voting categories based on their habitats, ranging from arid environments and tropical rainforests to urban areas and marine ecosystems. 

“Australia has more than 1,900 threatened species, but you might not also know that there are more than 100 threatened ecological communities as well, and they’re at risk of extinction too,” Perfetto said.

Introducing The Science Briefing: a podcast about the science of everything and your new go-to podcast for your snapshot of science news. Hosted by Dr Sophie Calabretto and featuring journalists from Cosmos Magazine. Hear it on the LiSTNR app now.