Australia is a country of great biodiversity, despite the extensive arid areas that cover most of the country.
About 85% of flowering plants, 84% of mammals, more than 45% of birds, and 89% of in-shore, temperate-zone fish are endemic (found nowhere else in the world).
Australia's marine habitats range from coral reefs
to seagrass plains, giant kelp forests and the sand-bottomed habitats that cover major parts of the continental shelf.
In 2001, it was estimated there were 1,478 species listed as either endangered or vulnerable at the national level. Australian species include the platypus and echidna, the kangaroo, koala, wombat, and birds such as the emu and kookaburra.