Please help: Swift Action on Swift Parrots! (1 October 2008)

In the past years Mount Majura hosted one of Australia’s most endangered bird species, the Swift Parrot. Friends of Mt Majura were involved in surveying the species and many people visited the Mount Majura nature reserve to glimpse these rare visitors.

Swift Parrots have migrated south and prepare to breed in Tasmania within their nesting habitat in the Wielangta Forest on the east coast. However, this old growth nesting habitat is about to be logged, most likely clear-felled within the next few weeks. Despite current state and federal legislation supposed to protect the endangered bird species, and an ongoing recovery program, the Tasmanian Regional Forest Agreement allows essential habitat in key breeding areas to be cleared!

PLEASE HELP: We all want to continue to see Swift Parrots in the wild. Have your say and make a difference by taking just a couple of minutes to send a version of the following letter with your own twist and interest to Kevin Rudd, Prime Minister, Peter Garrett, Minister for the Environment, David Bartlett, Tasmanian Premier and David Llewellyn, Tasmanian Minister for Primary Industries and Water, for Energy and Resources (for contact details see below).

The following letter from Birds Australia and the National Swift Parrot Recovery Team to the above politicians sums it up:

“We are of the opinion that current logging practices within the Swift Parrot breeding range is unsustainable and is likely to have a significant long-term impact on this endangered species.

The imminent logging of mature Swift Parrot nesting habitat within Tasmania’s timber production forests, where large proportions of the population concentrate to breed, needs to be addressed urgently.

This includes, but is not limited to, the Wielangta and the Southern Forests of Tasmania, where impending logging operations are likely to result in both direct (death of parrots in nests) and indirect impacts (loss of hollow-bearing and associated forage trees) on the Swift Parrot population .

The single largest threat to the existence of the Swift Parrot in the wild is the logging of nesting habitat in Tasmanian forests.

We therefore recommend the immediate implementation of a 5 year moratorium on logging within Swift Parrot nesting habitat.

There has been a growing wealth of information on this species and its habitats through the National Recovery Program (Draft National Recovery Program for the Swift Parrot 2006-2010), including the dynamic and concentrated nature of habitat use by this species (e.g. DPIW (2008) Swift Parrot Breeding Season Survey Report).

However, our current knowledge is like the ‘tip of the iceberg’ and further work is required for a more complete understanding of this species’ breeding habitat requirements.

Therefore, within the 5 year moratorium period, an annual Swift Parrot population monitoring and breeding program needs to be implemented (in accordance with the National Swift Parrot Recovery Plan). This, together with existing information, would enable the identification of key breeding areas, and provide a sound basis for improved strategic planning in regard to both threatened species and forestry management.

Once key Swift Parrot breeding areas are identified, notice needs to be given under the Tasmanian Regional Forest Agreement that these areas will be protected in perpetuity.

The endangered Swift Parrot population simply can not sustain current levels of breeding habitat loss and is likely to become extinct unless the above actions are implemented urgently.”

Debbie Saunders

Friends of the Swift Parrot

Information on swift parrots

Contact details
The Hon Kevin Rudd MP
Prime Minister
Postal Address
Parliament House

The Hon Peter Garrett MP
Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts
Postal Address
PO Box 6022
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Premier David Bartlett
GPO Box 123
Ph: 6233 3464
fax: 6234 1572

David Llewellyn
Minister for Primary Industries and Water, Minister for Energy and Resources
Level 1, Public Buildings,
Franklin Square,
Ph: 6233 6454
Fax: 6233 2272

Michelle O’Byrne
Minister for Environment, Parks, Heritage and the Arts
GPO Box 1470,
Ph: 6233 6756
Fax: 6223 7610

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