Frogs, birds and orchids added to list of critically endangered ACT species

A frog species whose habitat was decimated by the 2003 bushfires has been added to the list of critically endangered species in the ACT, along with two types of birds and two species of rare orchids.

Environment Minister Mick Gentleman has moved to upgrade the conversation status of northern corroboree frogs, swift parrots and regent honeyeaters, giving them the same protection afforded to them under Commonwealth laws.

A northern corroboree frog. The species is now listed as critically endangered in the ACT. Picture: Supplied

A northern corroboree frog. The species is now listed as critically endangered in the ACT. Picture: Supplied

The Canberra spider orchid and Brindabella midge orchid, both endemic to the ACT, have also been re-classified as critically endangered.

"This will lead to stronger national collaboration for protection of biodiversity," Mr Gentleman said.

A swift parrot. The species is now listed as critically endangered in the ACT. Picture: Supplied

A swift parrot. The species is now listed as critically endangered in the ACT. Picture: Supplied

"We will continue to work with other jurisdictions on monitoring, research and action for recovery of threatened species."

Mr Gentleman said initiatives were already in place to maintain the long-term survival of a number of these species.

A regent honeyeater. The species is now listed as critically endangered in the ACT. Picture: Supplied

A regent honeyeater. The species is now listed as critically endangered in the ACT. Picture: Supplied

Since 2011, a breeding program at Tidbinbilla has resulted in hundreds of captive-bred northern corroboree frogs being released into fragile high country wetland ecosystems that contain sphagnum moss. There were fears the species had been lost in 2003, when the frogs' habitat was ravaged by bushfires. Populations of the yellow- and black-striped frogs were also hit hard in the 1980s by the deadly, flesh-eating chytrid fungus.

Mr Gentleman said the ACT government's woodlands strategy was helping restore and maintain habitats for the swift parrot and regent honeyeater, while long-term action plans were in place to preserve the rare orchids.

A Canberra spider orchid. The species is now listed as critically endangered in the ACT. Picture: Supplied

A Canberra spider orchid. The species is now listed as critically endangered in the ACT. Picture: Supplied

Kathryn Tracy, the Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate's natural environment policy team manager, said the upgraded listings would not change much in the way species were managed in the ACT.

Ms Tracy said it was more of an administrative change and one that ensured the right level of protection was afforded to different species.

"It's also really important in terms of development, because if something is not categorised in the right way, you might not give it enough protection, or you might give it too much," she said.

Another 17 nationally threatened species have also been added to the ACT Threatened Native Species List, across various categories.