Threatened Species in Urban Areas

When thinking of places that are great for conserving threatened species, the word ‘urban’ rarely springs to mind. Yet recent research shows that 30% of Australia's EPBC-listed threatened species occur in cities, and that urban areas support substantially more threatened species per unit area than rural areas. Better management of our urban spaces is critical for conservation of Australia's threatened species.

Explore the map to see which threatened species have been recorded in or near 98 urban areas across Australia, as well as species that were once present but are no longer found there. Clicking on a species name will take you to more information about that species in the Atlas of Living Australia.

Key facts: 

  • More than 370 EPBC-listed threatened species can be found in Australian cities and towns.
  • 39 species only occur in urban areas
  • 56 species were historically found in cities, but have since gone locally extinct
The endangered Growling Grass Frog was once distributed widely across New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania. But a significant decline over the past ten years means the species is now only found in small, isolated populations across these sites. Credit: Kirsten Parris

About this data set

This work is part of an ongoing collaboration between the Clean Air and Urban Landscapes Hub and the Threatened Species Recovery Hub of the National Environmental Science Program. To read more about this work, see our scientific publication (Ives et al 2015) and this summary paper for kids.

For any enquires about this data set, please contact Kylie Soanes at ksoanes@unimelb.edu.au.

Data sources and definitions

The distribution of EPBC-listed threatened species was extracted from the Department of the Environment and Energy’s ‘Environment Resources Information Network’ and cross-checked against the Atlas of Living Australia.

Recorded in town/city - species detected since the year 2000.
Recorded on the edge of town/city - species detected within 2 km of the urban boundary.
Historical records - historical records from between the years 1950 and 2000.

This dataset includes 98 Australian cities, which are defined as settlements with a human population > 10,000. The urban boundary maps were obtained from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (Section of State Ranges classification on Statistical Area 1 polygon, 2011).