Logging Shock: Endangered Greater Glider found killed by alleged illegal tree clearing

Victorian National Parks Association

Conservation groups are furious after an endangered Greater Glider was found dead in a large habitat tree felled by Forest Fire Management Victoria in the Yarra Ranges National Park.

The dead Greater Glider was found early this morning by citizen scientists in trees which conservation groups had previously informed state and Commonwealth ministers contained gliders. The felled tree is just one of scores of ancient hollow-bearing trees that FFMV are destroying within the Yarra Ranges National Park.

Regulators have failed to act, despite allegations that FFMV’s operations are in clear breach of the Federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, with detailed evidence submitted showing significant impacts on the critically endangered Leadbeater’s Possum and the endangered Greater Glider, including survey findings.

“This is endangered wildlife culling. We specifically told the government that Greater Gliders were nesting in this tree. Instead of stepping in, they chose to knowingly kill endangered wildlife,” said Wildlife of the Central Highlands spokesperson Blake Nisbet.

“This is disgraceful, and has to stop. Even when notified of the presence of a federally listed threatened wildlife, the information was ignored – with deadly consequences.

“This is out of control. We are furious at this deadly failure to take the survival of threatened wildlife seriously. State and federal environment ministers need to fulfill their responsibilities and stop these works immediately. The situation urgently requires a full and proper ecological assessment,” said Matt Ruchel, Executive Director, Victorian National Parks Association.

Nature and community groups had notified Forest Fire Management and state and federal environment ministers that destruction of scores of old hollow-bearing trees along 250 km of fuel breaks within the Yarra Ranges National Park is destroying critical habitat for threatened wildlife, including Leadbeater’s Possums, Gang-gang Cockatoos, Swift Parrots, and Greater Gliders.

Members of Wildlife of the Central Highlands (WOTCH) and the Victorian National Parks Association (VNPA) were shocked that both Greater Glider and critical Leadbeater’s Possum habitat had been logged on the weekend near the intersection of Road 12 and Forty Mile Break in the Yarra Ranges National Park.

On their behalf, lawyers from Environmental Justice Australia have written to the Federal Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek and State Environment Minister Steve Dimopoulos detailing allegations that the operations are in clear contravention of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC), which requires referral, assessment and approval of all operations likely to have significant impacts on listed threatened species.

The Victorian Government has admitted that the operations are not covered by existing EPBC referrals, but declined to comply with requirements for assessment of impacts on endangered species under our Federal Environment law.

Wildlife Victoria has been engaged to provide veterinary assistance. Government regulators have been notified but refused to act.

Additional quotes attributed to EJA Special Counsel Danya Jacobs:

Destroying scores of ancient hollow-bearing trees home to critically endangered Leadbeater’s Possums and endangered Greater Gliders, and killing those species in the process, is plainly illegal under Federal environment law and it has to stop.

Killing endangered species is also obviously illegal under Victorian law – Forest Fire Management are acting with impunity and must be reigned in by the regulators.

This destruction of critical habitat of endangered species is clearly breaking federal environment laws designed to protect Greater Gliders and Leadbeater’s Possums, and this is a real test of whether Minister Plibersek will match her words with action and get serious about enforcing the law.

Images and footage of the Greater Glider killed by the logging and the logging operation can be found below and other footage, including of tree before it was logged are available:

WOTCH: https://fb.watch/s3SqI6aoev/

/Public Release.