Tuesday September 7th is National Threatened Species Day and the Conservation Council ACT Region is putting the spotlight on one of Canberra’s threatened species – the critically endangered Golden Sun Moth.

The date of National Threatened Species Day, 7th September, marks the anniversary of the death in captivity of the last Tasmanian Tiger.

Helen Oakey, Executive Director of the Conservation Council ACT Region said “Sadly, Australia is the extinction capital of the world, with more than 10% of the 320 land mammals known to have lived in Australia in 1788 now extinct. And that’s just mammals – spare a thought for the numerous birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, invertebrates and plants that  are already extinct, or well on their way.

“Not all of the ACT’s threatened species are gregarious like the Gang-gang Cockatoo, brilliantly coloured like the Swift Parrot or iconic like the Corroboree Frog. But they are, nonetheless, precious and essential pieces of a much larger picture.”

The Golden Sun Moth is one of the most threatened species in the ACT. This critically endangered species lives in Natural Temperate Grasslands, which are themselves critically endangered ecosystems.

“Urban developments, such as that proposed by Defence Housing Australia at Lawson north, are a key threat to these grasslands, and risk leaving what little remains of the Golden Sun Moth’s habitat highly fragmented.

“In the ACT we must also protect remaining Box-Gum Woodlands to the west of the city. These provide crucial habitat for several endangered bird species and will also face development pressure in the next decade if the city continues to expand’  said Helen Oakey.

The plight of the moth is the inspiration for the Conservation Council ACT Region’s entry into the annual Threatened Species Bakeoff, hosted by the federal Threatened Species Commissioner. The Council’s multi-talented Office Manager has baked the Golden Sun Moth cake.

“I had never even heard of the Golden Sun Moth before I started working at the Conservation Council!” Office manager, Fiona Smith said.

“I take every opportunity I can get to decorate cakes, and to do so for such a good cause was especially motivating”

Fiona made the levitating moth cake with a chocolate cake base, topped with hand-painted fondant icing. Even the accompanying grass is edible.

“I always like to push the boundaries when making a cake, so when I had the idea of making a cake that appeared to be suspended in mid-air, I just had to put my mind to it and find a way!”

Fiona’s cake is the centrepiece of the Conservation Council ACT Region’s National Threatened Species Day campaign which centres on the development threat facing the grasslands at Lawson north.

The Council is also hosting a colouring competition, with colouring sheets specially created by artist Jessica Riese from Canberra’s NatureArt Lab, to encourage younger Canberrans to engage with the very special natural environment of the Bush Capital.

Canberrans can vote to support the Golden Sun Moth cake entry by going to the Threatened Species Commissioner’s Facebook page here and liking the entry.