Friends of Grasslands

supporting native grassy ecosystems

PO Box 440
Jamison Centre
Macquarie ACT 2614

email: advocacy@fog.org.au
web: www.fog.org.au

Secretariat
NSW Threatened Species Scientific Committee
Locked Bag 5022
Parramatta NSW 1481
email: scientific.committee@environment.nsw.gov.au

 

Dear Sir/Madam

Monaro Grassland Earless Dragon Tympanocryptis osbornei listing

Friends of Grasslands (FOG) is a community group dedicated to the conservation of natural temperate grassy ecosystems in south-eastern Australia. FOG advocates, educates and advises on matters to do with the conservation of grassy ecosystems, and carries out surveys and other on-ground work. FOG is based in Canberra and its members include professional scientists, landowners, land managers and interested members of the public.

Noting that Tympanocryptis osbornei is part of the T. lineata species complex, we agree with the approach of the draft listing, namely that where relevant, biological information and management recommendations for T. lineata are available, they could also be applied to T. osbornei. This is based on their close similarity in morphology and ecology.  We also note that the habitat of each of these species, Natural Temperate Grassland, is listed as critically endangered under the EPBC Act.

FOG is aware that a number of populations of T. osbornei exist but that these are highly fragmented with the size of each population appearing to be very small. FOG therefore agrees with the assessment for this species under Clause 4.3 being (b) (d) (e ii, iii, iv), i.e. endangered.

Of the other species in the T. lineata complex, Tympanocryptis pinguicolla is currently listed as endangered under both the NSW BC Act and the EPBC Act.  There is concern for the long-term survival of this highly restricted endemic grassland lizard. That concern is heightened by the fact that two other species of grassland earless dragons in south-eastern Australia (T. pinguicolla and T. mccartneyi) are now thought to be extinct. The disappearance of these two species from their entire known geographic range and the recent extreme collapse of populations of a third species, T. lineata, from thousands of individuals to the detection of less than 20 individuals in 2021, is reason for great concern. It is our view that, should current trends continue, T. osbornei could soon meet the requirement for listing as Critically Endangered. Its disappearance from Kuma Nature Reserve may be a forewarning that this species is also on the same trajectory.

In summary, FOG supports the listing of T. osbornei as endangered, but notes that, based on the fate of three other closely related grassland earless dragons, the species may well become Critically Endangered in the near future.

Yours sincerely

 

Naarilla Hirsch
Advocacy coordinator

16 August 2021