Media Releases - 23 January 2020

Forest wildlife need forest protection to recover

The Wilderness Society welcomes the Andrews’ Government’s first aid recovery response for bushfire impacted wildlife and calls for the immediate protection of forest animals’ only remaining habitat.

Greater Glider forest habitat needs immediate protection following the bushfires. Image: Trish Mathers.

Amelia Young, the Wilderness Society’s Victorian Campaigns Manager says: “This immediate care for bushfire affected wildlife is a commonsense initial response to alleviate suffering and to begin the process of the targeted recovery of animal populations. But if forest wildlife are to have a home to be returned to, the Andrews government must immediately protect forest habitat from logging.

“The reason so many Victorian species were already on the brink of extinction is because so much of their forest habitat has been lost due to deforestation.

“These bushfires are a wake-up call for governments to act fast to turn around extinction trajectories that can still be avoided. There’s no time to lose, and protecting green, unburnt forests—that are now some species’ only remaining home—is vital. We must protect these refuges.

“Bushfire affected forests are living forests. They must be supported to recover. This means protecting them from damaging logging, including so-called salvage logging.

“The environment minister, Lily D’Ambrosio must ensure the Andrews government rules out salvage logging in the living forests of East Gippsland, which although terribly damaged by bushfire, will recover if they are allowed to do so.”

A quarter of Victoria’s population of the iconic ‘flying’ marsupial, the Greater Glider, has been lost due to these bushfires, with almost half its habitat projected to be bushfire affected. 

“The Greater Glider is just one of the many forest species that is supposed to have had a Commonwealth recovery plan in place,” says Amelia Young. "If we had properly implemented recovery plans for our forest fauna over the last 20 years, then the extinction risks from these fires would have been greatly reduced.  

“It is well known that Greater Gliders are killed by logging. Recovering wildlife populations in the wake of these bushfires means providing much-needed first aid as well as removing other threats known to negatively impact vulnerable wildlife—like logging.

“If the Andrews government is fair dinkum about helping Victorian native animals beat extinction, it will provide a decent forest sanctuary so that wildlife can recover and thrive. A forest sanctuary is a deforestation free zone.”

For interview: Amelia Young, Victorian Campaigns Manager 0404 074 577