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Conservation and cakes combine to showcase Great Southern threatened species

12-year-old Beth’s Malleefowl cake complete with a nest.  (Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment)

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A day created to shine a spotlight on native Australian animals at risk of becoming endangered or at risk, National Threatened Species Day is also the time to celebrate iconic Aussie wildlife and and the incredible conservation work undertaken by a multitude of individuals and organisations to restore our environment. 

Highlighting conservation issues while still celebrating our important native fauna, the annual Threatened Species Bake Off encourages entrants of all ages to bake their favourite sweet treat in the shape of a threatened plant or animal species found in Australia. 

Bake Off commemorates and celebrates threatened native species

“The Bake Off aims to raise awareness for threatened species while shining a light on the fantastic community efforts in protecting our wildlife and commemorating Threatened Species Day on the 7th of September,” said a Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment spokesperson. 

“We have already received over 200 entries from right across Australia, ranging from Wallabies to Wattles, to Echidnas to Sea Turtles. “

“We have already received over 200 entries from right across Australia, ranging from Wallabies to Wattles, Echidnas to Sea Turtles. 

“This year’s Bake Off will focus on ecosystem engineers and the important role they play in Australia’s unique environment.”

The DAWE classify an ‘ecosystem engineer’ as any animal or plant that modifies, maintains, improves or creates habitat.

“People aren’t always aware about the critical role these ecosystem engineers play in their environment and why it’s important to have them,” said the spokesperson. 

“Ecosystem engineers provide benefits such as helping other species, for example wombats and bilbies provide burrows that other species may use, or a service people may value, such as pollination and erosion control. 

“Engineers can include birds, plants, reptiles, fish, mammals and invertebrates.”

Some of the engineers that call the Great Southern home include threatened mammals and birds that turn over the soil to improve the soil health, like the Wyolie, Malleefowl, Gilbert’s Potoroo, Quenda and the Quokka. 

Gilberts Potoroo cake created by 12-year-old Great Southern resident Gilbert.  (Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment)

Nudging conservation into everyday Australians’ lives through cake

With the Bake Off winners chosen today, DAWE says that other than bragging rights, winners will have their creations and threatened species stories displayed across the Commissioners social media channels, and may even include a small prize sent by the Commissioner. 

“Few Australians know just how many of our native animals are threatened, but most people like cake. “

“Few Australians know just how many of our native animals are threatened, but most people like cake. 

“Holding a nationwide bake off is one way that we can nudge this important issue into everyday Australians’ lives,” the spokesperson said. 

Three Great Southern residents have entered into the Bake Off so far, with a selection of tasty treats showcasing endangered species from the region.

12-year-old Beth baked a Malleefowl cake complete with a nest that looks incredibly lifelike while Gilbert, also aged 12, created a Gilbert’s Potoroo cake. 

“At night time they act as ‘ecosystem engineers’ by digging underground for fungi, which makes up 90% of their diet,” said Gilbert. 

“Their population is under threat due predators, fires, a decrease in diversity and climate change.

“I think they’re pretty cute and I like that we share a name!”

“I think they’re pretty cute and I like that we share a name!”

Wyolie cake created by Kismet.  (Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment)

Judged by a scientist, an ecologist, a cake creative and the Threatened Species Commissioner

The Bake off will be judged today by cake creative Katherine Sabbath who is one of Australia’s most well-known and talented cake makers, as well as water scientist Brad Moggridge, ecologist Dr Bec West and the acting Threatened Species Commissioner Dr Fiona Fraser. 

The winners will be announced on social media on Friday 10th of September by Dr Fraser, and all entries can be seen on the Commissioners Facebook page in a photo album if you would like to see more cakes that have just as much impact as flavour. 

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