NSW Scientific Committee - final determination
1. The Emu, Dromaius novaehollandiae, is a very large flightless bird that is distributed broadly but patchily through New South Wales and elsewhere in Australia. It occupies a range of predominantly open habitats, including plains, grasslands, woodlands and shrubs, and may occur occasionally in forest.
2. The Emu, Dromaius novaehollandiae, is not listed on Schedule 1 of the Act, so that populations are eligible for listing.
3. An isolated population of Emus occurs in the NSW North Coast Bioregion and Port Stephens Local Government Area (LGA). The population is disjunct from other populations in the Sydney Basin and New England Tableland Bioregion. The population of Emus in the NSW North Coast Bioregion and Port Stephens LGA represents the north-eastern limit of the species in NSW. The majority of recent records are concentrated between Coffs Harbour and Ballina, with occasional records inland of the coastal ranges.
4. Numbers of Emus in the NSW North Coast Bioregion and Port Stephens LGA have declined severely. The habitat of the Emus in the North Coast Bioregion and Port Stephens LGA has been reduced and fragmented as a result of agricultural and urban development, with consequent local extinctions. The population is threatened by further loss and fragmentation of habitat for suburban and rural development, inappropriate fire regimes, deliberate killing, predation of eggs and young by pigs, dogs and foxes, road kill and altered population dynamics.
5. The population of Emus in the NSW North Coast Bioregion and Port Stephens LGA is of significant conservation value as the last known population in north coastal New South Wales, and for the role that birds play in dispersing large seeds of native plant species over long distances (McGrath and Bass 1999).
6. In view of 2, 3, 4 and 5 above, the Scientific Committee is of the opinion that the Emu, Dromaius novaehollandiae, population in the NSW North Coast Bioregion and Port Stephens LGA is eligible to be listed as an endangered population because its habitat has been so drastically reduced, that it is in immediate danger of extinction and it is not a population of a species already listed in Schedule 1, and it is disjunct and at or near the limit of its geographic range and is otherwise of significant conservation value.
Proposed Gazettal date: 06/09/02
Exhibition period: 06/09/02 - 11/10/02
McGrath, R.J. and Bass, D, (1999). Seed dispersal by Emus on the New South Wales north-east coast. Emu 99: 248-252.