Western Barred Bandicoot
Western barred bandicoot
Photo © CSIRO

Australia is one of the world's 17 centres of 'mega-diversity' of plants and animals.

The south-west of Western Australia is known as one of the world's 34 biodiversity ‘hotspots’, with some of the richest and most unique reservoirs of plant and animal life on earth.

Western Australia is home to:

  • 141 of Australia's 207 mammal species, 25 unique to the state
  • more than 400 reptile species, more than 40% unique to the state
  • more than 1,600 fish species
  • hundreds of thousands of invertebrate species
  • one of the most diverse and unique floras in the world, with over 210 vascular plant families, and 50-80% of species being unique to the state in the largest of these families.

From the forests of our south-west to the spinifex grasslands and saltbush of central Western Australia, and the boab trees of the Kimberley, our diverse plant life is treasured by locals and visitors alike.

Despite the efforts of many botanists and amateur naturalists since European settlement, much still remains to be discovered about our plants. We do not know the precise number of species present in Western Australia—the figure is thought to be about 13,000, of which around 3,000 species are yet to be formally named. Current information is available through the WA Herbarium.

Parks and Wildlife has a key role in protecting our native plants and animals, and does so through the management of lands and waters reserved under the Conservation and Land Management Act 1984, a range of conservation initiatives operating on other lands, the activities of the WA Herbarium, and programs such as Western Shield, scientific research and the protection of threatened species and ecological communities.

Western Australian plants and animals are protected under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016, and certain activities involving native plants and animals may be regulated by the issue of licences and authorities.

To find out more about Western Australia's plants and animals search our databases such as NatureMap and FloraBase.

Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016

Humpback whale breaching

A replacement for the Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 and Sandalwood Act 1929.

Find out about the new Biodiversity Conservation Act

Wildcare Helpline

The Wildcare Helpline is a telephone referral service.

The Helpline provides a service for members of the public who find sick, injured or orphaned native wildlife and are seeking advice on how to find care for the animal. View the Wildcare Helpline page for more information.

If you've found injured wildlife please call the Wildcare Helpline on (08) 9474 9055.


Articles in this category:

Title Modified Date
Licences and Authorities Tuesday, 30 May 2023 09:25
Western Australian Herbarium Thursday, 24 March 2022 16:31