Thursday 27 June 2019

Plan to save endangered Leadbeater's possum must consider timber industry, minister says

Conservationists urge Sussan Ley to get her priorities right, saying her job is to protect species, not industries
Adam MortonEnvironment editor
Mon 24 Jun 2019 07.59 BSTLast modified on Mon 24 Jun 2019 18.55 BST

Environment minister Sussan Ley says the Leadbeater’s possum will keep its critically endangered listing. Photograph: Zoos Victoria
Victoria’s faunal emblem, the tiny Leadbeater’s possum, will keep its critically endangered listing after the environment minister, Sussan Ley, rejected a push by Coalition MPs and the forestry industry to downgrade its conservation status.
But Ley has been criticised for suggesting a long-delayed recovery plan for the possum should also consider the needs of the timber industry.
The possum, which was believed extinct until 1961 and is endemic to the Victorian central highlands, was listed as critically endangered in 2015 when then environment minister Greg Hunt accepted the advice of an independent scientific advisory body.
But the government is yet to release a formal recovery plan for the species and its conservation status has been subject to a review since 2017, when Barnaby Joyce led a call for a “people before possums” approach to prevent forestry job losses.
Scientists estimate the number of Leadbeater’s possums has declined more than 80% since the mid-1980s as its habitat, mostly old-growth mountain ash, has been devastated by a combination of fire and logging. Almost half of it was lost in the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires.
Victoria’s state-owned timber agency, VicForests, says it is managing protection of the possum appropriately and many new colonies of the animal have been found in recent years.

No comments:

Post a Comment

You only need to enter your comment once! Comments will appear once they have been moderated. This is so as to stop the would-be comedian who has been spamming the comments here with inane and often offensive remarks. You know who you are!

Related Posts with Thumbnails