One of the ACT's most recognisable bird species could soon be formally listed as endangered.
The federal Environment Department is considering whether to include the gang-gang cockatoo on the threatened species list.
A final decision as to whether to include the bird species on the list is not expected to be made until at least April 2022, but the department has opened up submissions on whether the gang-gang should be listed as endangered.
The gang-gang is one of five bird species currently being considered for inclusion as a federal threatened species, including the south-eastern glossy black cockatoo and the pilotbird, which are both found in the ACT.
Currently, there are 168 animal species classified as endangered in Australia, including 55 types of birds.
An Environment Department spokesman said the decision to consider the gang-gang as endangered was due to a loss of habitat.
"The population has declined by approximately 69 per cent in the last three generations, or 21 years," the spokesman said.
"In addition to this decline, the species has suffered direct mortality and habitat loss during the 2019-20 bushfires. Between 28 to 36 per cent of the species' distribution was impacted by the fires."
The consideration for the gang-gang to be classified as endangered comes as the ACT government investigates ways to help protect the species from the impacts of climate change.
The territory government, alongside the University of Queensland, is developing a climate-change management plan which will focus on how numbers could best be protected from rising temperatures and more frequent natural disasters such as bushfires.
If successful, the climate change plan could be extended for other species in the ACT, or even entire ecosystems.
A further seven species are classified as threatened by the territory government, but not by the Commonwealth.
National gang-gang cockatoo working group co-ordinator Stacey Taylor said bushfires had already exacerbated the decline in numbers, which had fallen due to habitat loss.
"They are one of the least-understood cockatoo species in Australia," she said.
"The key threats to them have been the loss of breeding hollows in trees which they rely on to nest .. the situation is very concerning."
The Environment Department spokesman said work would be under way during coming months to determine the fate of the gang-gang.
"A rigorous scientific assessment of the species threat status is undertaken by the threatened species scientific committee against criteria," the spokesman said.
"In order for the gang-gang to be listed as threatened, it must meet at least one of the criteria. Climate change is identified as a current and future threat in the draft listing assessment and conservation advice."
The committee will include this consideration in the final assessment provided to the minister."
Formal advice will be handed to federal Environment Minister Susan Ley by April 30, before she will have 90 business days to make a final decision.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: