Tasmanian government approved deforestation of the Swift Parrot’s natural habitat, contrary to researchers recommendation

March 26th, 2015 | by LubosTomiska
Tasmanian government approved deforestation of the Swift Parrot’s natural habitat, contrary to researchers recommendation
Conservation projects

The government on the island state Tasmania is criticized for the reckless attitude to local deforastation which occurs near to nesting localities of the Swift Parrot. What is more, authorities have very good knowledge about critical situation because they get regular reports from researchers. The Guardian informed about this sad news and the documents comming from researchers warn: „result in the continued loss of breeding habitat that has been identified as being of very high importance for the species with the further fragmentation of foraging habitat. This cannot contribute to the long-term survival of the species“.

Such decision of Tasmanian government is also contrary to their long term strategy about ecologically sustainable forest management. Ecological group of activists Environment Tasmania got secret documents from the government which give permission to deforestation. There were requests for logging on five localities. Authorities approved three of them.



The fastest parrot of the world

The Swift Parrot represents one of the most interesting parrot species in the world. They are fastest and can fly about 100km/h. They also regularly migrate from nesting localities on Tasmania to southeast Australia for winter (very similar behaviour to the Orange-bellied Parrot). They are food specialists who feed on pollen, nectar and fruits. In captivity, this species is not rare. However, in the wild there are only 2000-2500 adult individuals. IUCN classifies it as Endangered.

Spokesman of Environment Tasmania Phill Pullinger told to The Guardian that conservationists will put pressure on Tasmanian and Federal Ministry of Environment. „Both [federal environment minister] Greg Hunt and [state environment minister] Matthew Groom have powers and responsibilities to protect endangered species – we need an injunction to prevent logging in swift parrot breeding areas,” he said. „This is highly alarming and shatters any confidence in how endangered species are being managed. The advice from scientists is so clear and blunt as to what these activities mean for this animal and yet the decision makers straight out ignore the advice,“ he added.



New government, new strategy

According to Phill Pullinger, the Swift Parrot is very well known parrot species to public. So then we can ask how the government manages the conservation of less popular animal species. Also Eric Woehler from the Tasmanian branch of BirdLife has similar opinion: „This information demonstrates a breach of faith with the public, who have trusted the government to protect the habitat of this iconic and endangered species“.

Dejan Stojanovic from the Australian National University who has been studying Swift Parrots for the last five years say that deforestation is a huge issue on the whole southern part of Tasmania. “I’m extremely worried about the swiftie’s future. Its habitat is being taken across its entire breeding range and it’s on a trajectory to extinction“ The loss of habitat forces birds to be on very small locations. That’s why their predation still increases. Another interesting fact is that immediately after publishing the information about this issue, government approved allowance in value of 100 millions australian dollars for saving of threatened Tasmanian species for the next 5 years.


Title photo: (c) JJ Harrison. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.


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