Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Leadbeater's possum: conservationists say draft report proves endangered status

Forestry industry and Barnaby Joyce have been pushing to downgrade species’ status

Sun 8 Jul 2018 19.00 BSTLast modified on Mon 9 Jul 2018 00.04 BST

Conservation groups say the Leadbeater’s possum should retain its conservation status as a critically endangered Australian species, based on new advice from the government’s scientific advisory body.

In a draft consultation document, the threatened species scientific committee says the Victorian possum meets at least one of the criteria to make it eligible for listing as critically endangered.

Under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, species only need to meet one criterion to be eligible for listing as either vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered.

The forestry industry and the former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joycehave been pushing the government to downgrade the species’ critically endangered conservation status to open up protected areas of Victorian forest for logging.

Habitat loss from logging and fire are key threats to the possum, which is primarily found in mountain ash forests of Victoria’s central highlands.

The government is reviewing the possum’s listing as critically endangered and conducting public consultation until mid-August.

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