The Extinction crisis – and the environment policy no-show

Media release
5 September 2013

Just two days out from the federal election, and with no sign of a comprehensive biodiversity and environment policy from either Prime Minister Rudd or Tony Abbott, threatened species habitat continues to fall to the chainsaws – against the latest vocal opposition from leading scientists warning of an extinction crisis.

Community members are today halting logging in critical habitat for the endangered Leadbeater's (Fairy) Possum, at Nolan's Gully, near Toolangi east of Melbourne. They are calling on the major parties to heed the warnings of top scientists and act now to protect threatened species.

Last week in Melbourne leading scientists Tim Flannery and David Lindenmayer cautioned about the need to act now and protect forests, or risk seeing iconic wildlife species go extinct.

Speaking to a packed public meeting, Tim Flannery told the crowd: “there is an extinction emergency in our forests. We have no choice but to stand up and act”.

Victoria's native forests are vital habitat for unique threatened species, including the Leabeater's Possum, the Long footed Potoroo and the Spotted-tail Quoll.

This remnant habitat is still being destroyed at a rapid rate, with over 500 football fields of former reserves being made available for logging last year.

“In Victoria trees with hollows are considered essential for 16 species of mammal and 44 species of bird, including 14 of which are threatened in Victoria. The current logging practices, if continued, will push threatened species  towards extinction,” said Cam Walker, Friends of the Earth campaigns co-ordinator.

“The extinction crisis in our forests is real. We face the imminent risk that some species of our unique wildlife will disappear from natural habitats within the next few years. Our threatened species need forest habitat protection. They need leadership from political parties which – at the least – means the release of a policy before this weekend’s ‘Threatened Species Day’ election.”

For more information please call:

Lauren Caulfield 0408 748 939 (on site at Toolangi).