The Fight To Save Australia's Endangered Species - This week on Four Corners

Australia boasts a stunning array of unique wildlife.   They feature on our coat of arms and they’re placed front and centre in our tourism campaigns. 

But the reality is, many of our native animals are in danger. 

“It’s embarrassing being involved with wildlife, to be an Australian, to have this record of extinction.” Conservation sanctuary owner

Australia has one of the worst extinction rates on the planet and the problem is growing. There are currently more than 500 animal species under threat.

“If we can't bring ourselves to care…then what about the next thing, and what about the next thing after that? Where's the end point of that attitude?” Conservation ecologist

On Monday Four Corners investigates how Australia has found itself in the midst of an extinction crisis.

“Our system for protecting threatened species in this country is fundamentally broken.”  Conservation activist

There is heated debate over who is responsible and what lengths governments should go to, to save these threatened species.

“It's not about waving a chequebook at the levels of threatened species. It's about sensible funding, which we do.”  Environment Minister

Four Corners goes into the field with leading scientists and conservation volunteers to document first hand the fight to save these wild creatures.   Our camera captures precious pictures of some of these endangered animals.

“It is rare to see them at all but to have posing like that for us was a gift…just wonderful.”  Volunteer conservationist

With money in short supply, many rescue efforts are reliant on volunteers and crowd funding,

“If volunteers like us weren't doing it, it just wouldn't be done and the animals would be going extinct.”  Volunteer conservationist

Ecologists say these species are just as priceless as a work of art and should be protected in the same way.

“You wouldn't go burn the Mona Lisa because you could. You'd put it somewhere and keep it safe.”  Bird ecologist

They warn that species extinction will have consequences for us all.

“We are an interconnected ecosystem. It's going to actually start having knock on effects to us as well and our society and in a whole range of ways.”  Conservation activist

Extinction Nation, reported by Stephanie March, goes to air on Monday 24th June at 8.30pm. It is replayed on Tuesday 25th June at 1.00pm and Wednesday 26th at 11.20pm. It can also be seen on ABC NEWS channel on Saturday at 8.10pm AEST, ABC iviewand at abc.net.au/4corners.