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Aussie love for animals leaves plants at risk of extinction


When Australian’s think of threatened species, we tend to think of cute, cuddly animals like koalas, kangaroos or wombats. Even our vibrant native birds get their own popularity contest thanks to Guardian Australia’s Bird of the year poll, but where do plants feature in all of this?

According to a study recently published in the Australian Journal of Botany, our love of Aussie animals—called Zoocentrism—means that plants are under-represented in extinction risk databases compared with more charismatic groups of animals such as mammals and birds. Australia has the highest proportion of unique plant species which occur nowhere else in the world so, this shortfall in extinction risk-assessments for plants is a matter of global significance. MORE