Saving our Species: project summaries by species 2016–2021

Since 2016, the Saving our Species program has implemented projects and actions to ensure the future of hundreds of threatened plants and animals. We’ve developed these project summaries to showcase just some of the outcomes we've achieved.

New South Wales is home to some of Australia’s most unique and distinct plants and animals. Unfortunately, many of these species are threatened with extinction.

The Saving our Species (SoS) program is the NSW Government’s response to this extinction crisis. Since the program began, SoS has grown to become a world-class threatened species program and has delivered a 400% increase in species being managed on-ground. While threatened species conservation is a long-term game, we’re already seeing results, with 228 threatened species now on track to survive the next 100 years.

Our projects are cutting-edge, employing the latest technologies, survey methods and findings to ensure we can have the greatest impact. Our program’s innovative approach has helped to uncover vital knowledge about our State’s rare and endangered species, which informs how we perform conservation and the path forward to securing these species in the wild.

We’re excited to share results from the last 5 years of the program with the public, through a series of project summaries. These highlight the many milestones, achievements, and data-driven stories that SoS has led and supported since 2016.

Following the renewed funding commitment from the NSW Government in June 2021, the momentum gained by SoS will continue for at least 5 more years, as we work to protect hundreds of threatened species and communities.

View results from 5-year projects 

Southern corroboree frog (Pseudophryne corroboree) lives in small pockets of Kosciusko National ParkAustralia’s amphibian species are experiencing widespread declines due to the impacts of threats like:

  • the devastating amphibian chytrid fungus
  • climate-change induced pressures such as drought and fire
  • habitat loss, destruction and fragmentation.

Saving our Species is committed to securing our NSW’s threatened frog species, through a variety of conservation actions including captive breeding and release programs, the delivery of environmental water to wetlands and citizen science monitoring programs. These actions will help secure species like the iconic southern corroboree frogs of the cold alpine undergrowth and the giant barred frogs of the north eastern Gondwanan forests near the Queensland border .

View results from our frog projects.

Broad-headed snake (Hoplocephalus bungaroides)From venomous snakes to giant monitor lizards, Australia is home to about 10% of all known reptile species.

Habitat loss and destruction, poaching for the exotic pet trade, climate-change and other threats have pushed many of these species to the edge of extinction – species like the yellow-speckled broad-headed snake and Bellinger river snapping turtle.

Comprehensive monitoring and on-ground conservation actions paired with public education and community partnerships have seen Saving our Species begin to turn the tables for New South Wales’ many threatened reptile species.

View results from our reptile projects.

Regent honeyeater (Anthochaera phrygia)New South Wales is home to some of Australia’s most beloved and recognisable threatened and rare bird species. The State’s sparse grasslands and arid mallee would be unrecognisable without the unusual plains-wanderer or mound-building malleefowl, and the same can be said of the vibrant superb parrots and regent honeyeaters of our dense forests.

Saving our Species is stepping in with world-first captive breeding and release programs, on-ground actions that protect and restore habitat quality and connectivity and comprehensive species monitoring so we can see how birds are reacting to our management actions.

View results from our bird projects.

The numbat (Myrmecobius fasciatus) is presumed extinct in New South WalesThe key drivers of mammal extinction in New South Wales are:

  • habitat loss
  • degradation and fragmentation
  • the impacts of climate change
  • altered fire regimes
  • predation by feral cats and foxes.

The last 5 years have seen Saving our Species spring into action to mitigate these threats, from the delivery of emergency food and water for mountain pygmy-possums after the devastating 2019–20 bushfires to feral animal control for the long-nosed potoroo.

View results from our mammal projects.

Giant pink slug Triboniophorus aff. graeffei Dawsons Spring Nature Trail Mt Kaputar National Park.While often overlooked, invertebrates are a crucial component of healthy and diverse ecosystems. Saving our Species is expanding our knowledge of this misunderstood group of animals, a timely effort considering the alarming global decline of insect numbers.

New South Wales is home to many threatened (and often unusual) invertebrates such as the purple copper butterfly and the bizarre slugs and snails of Mt Kaputar and Lord Howe Island.

View results from our invertebrate projects.

Small Scurf-pea, Cullen parvum, bagged for seed collectionSaving our Species (SoS) isn’t just about animals; in fact, most of the species in the program are plants. Some, like the Wollemi pine, can grow to be over 20 metres tall, while tiny orchids and herbs might grow to only a few centimetres.

Over the past 5 years, SoS has protected our vital plant species through:

  • propagation and translocations
  • habitat protection
  • seed storage
  • hand pollination
  • feral pest control.

View results from our plant projects.

Hygrocybe anomala var. ianthinomarginataSaving our Species’ reach even extends to fungi. While it may come as a surprise to some that members of this group of organisms are threatened, fungi are just as important as flora and fauna when it comes to the health and function of NSW’s ecosystems. Fungi supply the rest of the ecosystem with nutrients through their vital role as decomposers, recycling organic matter back up the food chain.

View results from our fungi projects.

Milton Ulladulla Subtropical Rainforest in the Sydney Basin Bioregion, a threatened ecological communityIn addition to individual species, Saving our Species also protects entire ecosystems that have been deemed threatened or endangered under NSW legislation. There are currently over 100 threatened ecological communities in New South Wales, including the box gum grassy woodland along the western slopes and tablelands of the Great Dividing Range, the Cumberland Plain woodland from the Sydney Basin, and a pocket of subtropical rainforest near Milton on the NSW South Coast.

In these instances Saving our Species takes a holistic approach to conserve entire ecosystems, in turn, preserving the many different species, ecological cycles and niches that exist within these ecosystems.

View results from our threatened ecological communities.

Bitou bush (Chrysanthemoides monilifera subsp rotundifolia), also known as boneseed, Munmorah State Conservation AreaThreat management on a species-by-species basis can be targeted and effective, but there are some large-scale threats that need to be tackled on a much broader scale. Key threatening processes include:

  • diseases such as amphibian chytrid fungus and phytophthora
  • invasive species such as deer and bitou bush
  • habitat loss and alteration caused by human-caused climate change.

Through Saving our Species we have developed ground-breaking hygiene protocols to prevent the spread of disease and innovative new search methods to identify and remove weeds, and are constantly broadening our knowledge on how to prevent the spread of invasive species such as cane toads.

View key threatening processes results.