Swift parrot's trees illegally destroyed

August 4, 2016
Swift parrots are mostly found in the Tasmanian Blue Gum.

Vital nesting trees for Australia's critically endangered Swift parrot in a forest at Buckland in southern Tasmania, have been illegally logged.

They were caught in the act by researcher Dejan Stojanovic from the Australian National University, who said: “There was two cars worth of blokes standing around the base of one of my nest trees ... This site is one of the most important locations for Swift parrots on mainland Tasmania.

“Since 2010, of the 18 nest trees that I've been monitoring with motion-activated cameras, 10 have been cut down.

"It might seem like a trivial matter, to cut down a tree that happens to have a Swift parrot nest in it, but when you consider that they're literally that close to extinction, there's not really any leeway here.”

The Swift parrot is listed as critically endangered, just one step from extinction and it is estimated there are only 2,000 left.

Under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 it is illegal to take actions which affect rare or endangered species

Australia's Threatened Species Commissioner Gregory Andrews said he was devastated by the destruction of habitat. “They're closer to extinction than Africa's white rhinoceros,” he said.

The Swift parrot — the world's fastest parrot — crosses Bass Strait on its annual migration from the Australian mainland to Tasmania. The 1000 breeding pairs depend on trees like those now destroyed to regenerate.

If there are no trees, there will be no nests: with no nests there will soon be no birds.

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