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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Watch stories about the kind of work the Native Australian Animals Trust supports.

Nigel Sharp - The Business of Biodiversity

Dr Andrew Weeks - Genetic rescue of Australian threatened species

Pia Lentini and Lisa Godinho - A bat in a box and a citizen scientist: 25 years of curiosity and discovery

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