Today, Minister Hunt has acknowledged the severe plight of the Fairy (Leadbeater’s) Possum, by changing the listing of the Fairy Possum from 'endangered' to 'critically endangered'.
Now, it is incumbent on the State Government to act swiftly to protect the forests that this iconic animal calls home, and for Minister Hunt to back the Great Forest National Park proposal.
“It’s tragic that the Fairy possum has had to be added to the ‘critically endangered’ list, but at least the Federal Environment Minister has acknowledged the dire plight of the possum,” says Amelia Young, Victorian Campaigns Manager with the Wilderness Society.
“We know that extinction of this animal can be avoided if logging is removed from its forest habitat.
“Today’s upgrading shows that a fresh approach to reserving its forest habitat is sorely needed.
“Thankfully, the Great Forest National Park proposal provides a positive and optimistic future for this species.”
Government-sanctioned logging in known Fairy Possum habitat is pushing the animal to extinction.
The plight of the Fairy Possum shows why we need strong, nationally consistent environmental laws.
For decades now, forestry arrangements have allowed logging of threatened wildlife habitat.
Today’s uplisting should trigger a review as to whether logging in threatened wildlife habitat should continue to be exempt from federal environment protections.
“While this new listing increases the moral imperative to protect the Fairy Possum, it’s disappointing that the Commonwealth Government is hamstrung by environment protection powers being largely turned off by national forestry and logging agreements,” says Lyndon Schneiders, National Campaign Director for the Wilderness Society.
“We know what Fairy Possum habitat looks like and where the species lives, so we know where we shouldn’t be logging.
“With this new listing, it is now incumbent on the Victorian Government to implement interim protection of Fairy Possum forest habitat, whilst the proposed ‘Forests Taskforce’ is convened.
“The Wilderness Society welcomes the opportunity to work with other stakeholders to establish a credible ‘Forests Taskforce’, as has been proposed by the Andrews State Government, to put forward supportable solutions to rescue the Fairy Possum from extinction.”
For comment: Amelia Young, 0404 074 577.