A hundred million years of isolation has made Australia's fauna unique. We harbour some of the most ancient lineages on earth: marsupials; monotremes; and less well-known though equally ancient lineages of reptiles, amphibians, and arthropods. Australia’s birds were the first to sing. Australia's animals hold a treasure trove of secrets from which we can all benefit. Our animals also require careful custodianship and thoughtful approaches towards their conservation.

Support our native animals and their environments

The Native Australian Animal Trust established in 2017 will provide a way for people who are passionate about Australia’s wildlife and their environments to connect with and support the University of Melbourne’s research, teaching and engagement activities. The idea for the Trust came about after researchers found 20 new species of freshwater fish in the remote Kimberley region.

Australia has a unique and charismatic animal fauna, but our state of knowledge about it is poor. Indeed species can go extinct before we even know of their existence. We have much to learn from our fauna, and a pressing need to do so. Associate Professor Tim Dempster, School of Biosciences

While the trust will support a wide range of activities, the first major initiative of the Trust will be to establish the ‘Award for Conservation Research into Northern Australian Animals and their Ecosystems’. The award’s aim is to understand more about the animals of northern Australia so as to better protect them. Small to medium-sized mammals in northern Australia are in rapid decline, and many other fish, animals and birds may suffer the same fate. There is clearly an opportunity to learn from the mistakes made in the south, to create better outcomes for the animals of the north.

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Presentations at the Launch Event

The Native Australian Animal Trust was officially launched at an event on Wednesday 15 March at the University of Melbourne. As part of the evening, Professor Ary Hoffmann, Professor Devi Stuart-Fox, Associate Professor Andrew Pask, and Dr Ben Phillips gave engaging presentations about their research.

Professor Ary Hoffmann - 'Bacteria from local flies limit disease transmission by mosquitoes'

Professor Devi Stuart-Fox - 'Unexpected insights from unassuming lizards'

Associate Professor Andrew Pask - 'Invisible threats to our native fauna'

Dr Ben Phillips - 'How to stop a billion invading toads'

Native Australian Animals Trust Fund Launch - Dr Ben Phillips from Faculty of Science - UoM on Vimeo.