ANU research released yesterday confirming the critically endangered Swift Parrot has plummeted in numbers to ‘less than 300’ is deeply concerning.
Despite this desperate news, Premier Gutwein is refusing to step in. His Ministers for Environment and Resources should be reversing this bird’s current path to extinction, but instead are accelerating it.
Just a decade ago an estimated 1000 pairs of this colourful speedy bird remained. Yesterday’s report shows the swift parrot is in a death spiral if the government continues its native forest logging program.
The main contributor to the swift parrot’s decline is the continual loss of nesting and feeding trees through native forest logging. Logging of their habitat continues under the Gutwein Government, including in the Eastern Tiers, with documented areas sprinkled throughout permanent logging zones.
In Parliament today, the Premier pointed to handkerchief protection of areas of Forestry Tasmania’s logging zone, but wouldn’t acknowledge that these unique birds don’t have permanent habitat. The swift parrot flies opportunistically to different forest regions annually, depending on flowering of trees.
This is an emergency for the swift parrot, which is heading towards extinction in years unless action is taken immediately.
The Premier must act now.
Peter Gutwein must ensure all swift parrot habitat, including breeding and foraging habitat, becomes a no-go zone for logging. Unless he does, his legacy as Premier will be allowing the swift parrot to follow the thylacine to extinction.