Time to step in Minister D'Ambrosio
The Greater Gliders, officially classified as ‘vulnerable’ has suffered an 80% drop in population and will probably disappear altogether from the Rubicon if logging of post 39 ash forests continues at anything like its present rate. An unknown number died in the 2009 fires, including the family of gliders that lived for years in an old tree about 20 metres from our home, and who used to come crash-landing on our roof almost every night. See the story article about Greater Gliders in Friday’s Age.
This has been followed by a letter published on Monday and an online petition from the Goongerah Environment Centre:
Time to step in, minister
A year ago, when endangered greater gliders were photographed in an East Gippsland forest earmarked for logging, then environment minister Lisa Neville intervened to declare a 100-hectare protection zone.
But when a colony was found in a planned logging coupe in the Strathbogie Ranges, the relevant minister Lily D’Ambrosio refused to act (The Age, 3/6). Under federal environmental laws, it is illegal to log the habitat of a species declared vulnerable. But the Regional Forestry Agreement exempts the logging industry in Victoria from adhering to federal laws to protect threatened wildlife. The RFA is now up for renewal. It must be revised so federal laws can be applied to protect Victoria’s dwindling populations of forest wildlife and, in particular, to turn around the recent 80 per cent crash in the population of greater gliders. In the meantime, the minister should seek legal advice on how she can intervene on behalf of this unique animal, as her predecessor did in May last year.
Jill Sanguinetti, Narbethong
It is unbelievable that VicForests continues to log glider habitats in the Strathbogies where they have been recorded in recent months.