Native species a hit in Sydney CBD

A keeper holds a ringtail possum. Photo / AP
A keeper holds a ringtail possum. Photo / AP

It was a furry, scaly and cuddly day for Sydney workers today with a collection of endangered species soaking up the spring weather in the CBD to promote conservation awareness.

National Threatened Species Day is an annual event held every September 7 to commemorate the death of the last known Tasmanian tiger in captivity.

Wildlife Sydney education supervisor Ben Buchanon said the community needed to be aware of the importance of conservation for the future of native animals.

"Australia has the worst mammal extinction rate in recent history, and that's an embarrassing statistic to have," Mr Buchanon said.

"It's all about creating a conservation culture.

"Appreciate what we have here if you want it to be here for your children."

A number of wildlife organisations from around NSW gathered in Sydney's Martin Place to showcase their animals and to generate interest in conservation projects.

Wild-eyed youngsters, curious tourists and office workers on a lunch break all lined up to pat some of the animals, with a golden brush tail possum hogging the attention.

The day also had a serious side with the group Devil Ark highlighting the plight of the Tasmanian Devil which is being threatened by a deadly facial cancer.

"There's less than 30,000, which is incredible when we used to have a quarter of a million devils," said mammal keeper Kellie Masters.

A koala, the newest face of threatened species in Australia, was a perfect ambassador as it lounged around, indifferent to the madness around it.

"Everyone loves koalas," Mr Buchanon said.

-AAP

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