sustainability through science & innovation

Combining conservation and cake for Threatened Species Day

06 Sep 2018

The teams at cesar and EnviroDNA have put their baking skills to the test ahead of Threatened Species Day.

The Threatened Species Bake Off is a fantastic initiative which aims to increase awareness about our wonderful and unique Australian wildlife that, for many reasons, are not doing so well.

Australia has over 400 species of animals that are currently listed as threatened under our Federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act 1999. For many of these species, hope of recovery is unfortunately dwindling fast, due to the continued loss of habitat, onslaught of invasive predators and competitors, disease, and climate change.

Some believe that we are on the cusp of one of the largest mass extinctions in history.

Two of the 400 threatened species include the golden sun moth (Synemon plana) and growling grass frog (Litoria raniformis), which cesar and EnviroDNA have created for the 2nd annual Threatened Species Bake Off, taking place on social media (#TSBakeoff).

The winner of the Bake Off will be announced by the Threatened Species Commissioner, Dr Sally Box on Threatened Species Day on September 7.

The growling grass frog (top) and the golden sun moth (bottom) created for the Threatended Species Bake Off ahead of National Threatened Species Day on September 7, 2018 (Image credit: cesar)

As well as a time to raise awareness, Threatened Species Day is also a time to celebrate the wins. 

Thirteen years ago, the Mt Buller population of the critically endangered mountain pygmy possum, Burramys parvus, had dwindled to less than 20 known individuals. But through genetic translocation, the mixing of genetically distinct populations of the same species, this community was brought back from the brink by the Burramys Rescue Team.

The team was composed of cesar’s Dr Andrew Weeks and Anthony Van Rooyen, and members from the University of Melbourne, La Trobe University, the University of NSW and Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management.

The Burramys rescue team were recently in the running for the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage Eureka Prize for Environmental Research in recognition for their threatened species recovery work.

cesar’s Dr Andrew Weeks is an advocate for extending the use genetic translocation to other species in need of conservation.

“Before this work with the Mt Buller mountain pygmy possum, genetic rescue had never been applied in Australia to a threatened species.” Says Dr Weeks.  “Our research provides the evidence and confidence for using this approach to recover threatened species worldwide”.

Dr Weeks' work is also moving to genetic recue of Eastern barred bandicoot – a once prolific marsupial in Victoria, that now has an extremely restricted range. Read about the challenges faced by the Eastern barred bandicoot here.

For this genetic rescue to proceed our researchers need your help. You can contribute to rescue of the Eastern barred bandicoot via Believe, the Campaign for the University of Melbourne.


For more information, contact:

Dr Andrew Weeks, cesar

(03) 9349 4723