Western Australia’s peak conservation organisation has commended the Environment Minister Albert Jacob and the Department of Parks and Wildlife for recent progress on improved artificial nesting hollows for endangered cockatoos, but warned that ongoing clearing of endangered cockatoo habitat must be urgently addressed to avoid the extinction of the species.
“Artificial nesting hollows certainly benefit the birds, however clearing of endangered cockatoo habitat has been allowed to increase under the Liberal National Government and this must be urgently addressed as the principal cause of cockatoo decline” said CCWA Director Piers Verstegen.
“It is pleasing to see Minister Jacob claiming credit for success with artificial nesting hollows, however he must also accept responsibility for the vast areas of natural cockatoo habit being destroyed under his watch, and the critical situation facing our cockatoos and other endangered species as a consequence.
“Under the Forest Management Plan introduced by Minister Jacob, logging has increased in Southwest native forests. Each year, large numbers of natural cockatoo nesting hollows are destroyed in logging operations, which remain exempt from State and Commonwealth wildlife protection laws.
“Across the state, changes to land clearing regulations introduced by the Barnett Government have allowed a doubling of the vegetation able to be cleared on farms and private land without a clearing permit.
“At the same time, support for conservation on private land has been withdrawn through the cancellation of DPAW’s long running Land for Wildlife Program.
“In the most recent example of habitat loss, 180 hectares of cockatoo habitat is being cleared right now for a gas fracking project near Eneabba including over 50 hectares within a Nature Reserve.
“Promises to update our state’s weak and outdated Wildlife Conservation Act have also been stalled and delayed with no sign of progress on this critical legislation.
“The Annual Cockatoo Count survey shows that numbers of these iconic birds has been reducing steadily every year. We know that the cause of the decline is logging, clearing and other habitat loss. Despite this, the situation is going backwards for the cockatoos and the habitat they rely upon under Minister Jacob and the Liberal National Government.
“We urge the Minister to take his responsibility to the states wildlife seriously and to urgently address the ongoing loss of habitat for cockatoos and other endangered species.
Comment: Piers Verstegen – 0411 557 892