Australia is a large and diverse island continent and is home to a variety of animals. The indigenous species include the kangaroo, koala, emu, platypus, echidna, possum, wombat, saltwater and freshwater crocodiles, the dingo, cockatoo and kookaburra. Introduced species include cats, dogs, buffalo, horses, goats, camels, pigs and deer. Australia has a large amount of domestic animals which have become feral as a result of European settlement.
Each State and Territory in Australia has legislation relating to the prevention of cruelty to animals. It is illegal to mistreat animals in Australia and native Australian animals are officially protected. Australia is the world’s largest supplier of apparel wool and the Australian government regulates the treatment of sheep raised for wool. The livestock export trade is vital to the economies of rural and regional Australia. Cattle, sheep, goats, buffalo, deer and camelids (camels, llama, alpaca and vicunas) are exported to the Middle East and North Africa. Legislation requires that each transport be equipped with qualified and experienced animal handlers, including an Australian veterinarian and stockmen.
The Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland in north-east Australia, is home to the Great Barrier Reef, which is the largest coral reef in the world. The reef contains an abundance of marine animals. Part of the reef has been set up as a national park, which protects the reef’s animal and plant life from harmful human activity.
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