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MEDIA RELEASE

Monday, 15th March 2010

Conservationists launch threatened species survey project in Tasmania’s southern forests

Today, community conservation group Still Wild Still Threatened launched a threatened species survey project and released images of a Tasmanian devil and spotted-tailed quoll, which were recently filmed in a proposed logging coupe in the Upper Florentine Valley.

The images were captured by an infra-red sensor camera, which was set up for two weeks in coupe FO049B, an area of old growth forest in the Upper Florentine scheduled to be logged this year. 

The last Tasmanian tiger to die in captivity was trapped in the Upper Florentine valley. Devils and spotted-tailed quolls are the tiger’s closest relatives still in existence.

“Fragmentation of habitat is a driving force behind increasing species extinction rates. The current government’s commitment to ancient forest logging could turn Tasmania into the extinction state, with the spotted-tailed quoll and Tasmanian devil following the Tasmanian tiger,” said Mr. Hill.

“The best form of protection the government could offer our rare and threatened wildlife is to protect habitat. Instead the Tasmanian Government is systematically destroying the habitat of the same animals they have legislated to protect,” said Mr. Hill.

In Victoria a landmark Supreme Court trial has begun over logging of endangered species habitat. Environment East Gippsland is suing the state owned Vic Forests for failing to meet their obligations under the Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act, by going ahead with logging plans in an area of known endangered species habitat. The case is the first of its kind and has the potential to set precedents that will end logging in endangered species habitat. The trial is continuing into its third week.

“Tasmania’s unique fauna receives no protection from logging operations. Large areas of these threatened creature’s habitats are scheduled to be woodchipped, despite the government’s listing of them in the Threatened Species Act as a protected species” said Mr. Hill.

“The current approach to forestry is not only having adverse impacts on biodiversity and threatened species but also on the industry and contractors themselves. International markets are not interested in woodchips from high conservation value forests like those in the Upper Florentine and Weld Valleys but the government refuses to transition contractors away from these areas” said Mr. Hill.

Video footage of the Upper Florentine Tasmanian devil available now on Youtube at http://www.youtube.com/tassieforests


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MEDIA ALERT

Monday, 15th March 2010


Tasmanian devil and rare spotted-tailed quoll photographed in Upper Florentine logging coupe.

WHAT:  Press conference and release of Upper Florentine devil and spotted-tailed quoll images

WHERE:  Parliament Lawns, Hobart

WHEN:  TODAY at 12:30pm                                                          

Today, community conservation group Still Wild Still Threatened will launch a threatened species survey project and release images of a Tasmanian devil and a spotted-tailed quoll which was recently photographed in a proposed logging coupe in the Upper Florentine Valley (see attached image). 

Using infra-red sensor cameras, conservationists are conducting surveys in Tasmania’s southern forests for species listed in the Tasmanian Threatened Species Act.

“Conservation volunteers are endeavouring to raise awareness about threatened species that rely on the ancient forests of Southern Tasmania, and highlighting their plight before the government completely obliterates their habitat” said Still Wild Still Threatened spokesperson Ed Hill. 

Conservationists from the Huon Valley Environment Centre have also been conducting tree measuring and vegetation surveys in the North Weld Valley. On a recent survey a baby Tasmanian devil was photographed.

“The area this devil was born in is under threat from logging. A proposed bridge over the Weld River will provide access to some of the last stands of the Weld’s ancient forests, home to this devil’s parents and siblings. Our devils are on the verge of extinction, populations have been reduced by 70%, yet the Tasmanian Government is still supporting the industrial-scale destruction of their habitat” said Mr. Hill. 

Mr Hill called on the Labor and Liberal parties to re-think their commitment to extending the Regional Forest Agreement. “The RFA has had devastating outcomes for threatened species, for many of which time is running out. 2010 is the International year of Biodiversity. While the world celebrates and promotes strategies to protect and enhance biodiversity Tasmania is still clearfelling known threatened species habitat.”

Video footage of the Upper Florentine Tasmanian devil available now on Youtube at http://www.youtube.com/tassieforests

Still Wild Still Threatened is a grassroots community organisation campaigning for the immediate protection of Tasmania’s ancient forests and the creation of an equitable and environmentally sustainable forestry industry in Tasmania.


http://www.stillwildstillthreatened.org
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  http://www.myspace.com/stillwildstillthreatened 
PO Box 295. South Hobart TAS 7004
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