Planned burns are destroying habitat of endangered cockatoos

Large parts of habitat critical to the survival of the endangered south-eastern red-tailed black cockatoo have been burnt, as part of planned burning programs by the state’s environment department.

Fewer than 1500 of the cockatoos are left in the wild. The bird is perhaps better known as ”Karak”, the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games mascot.

The fuel reduction burns began last week in Rennick State Forest, near the Victorian-South Australian border, Little Desert National Park, south-west of Dimboola, and Lower Glenelg National Park, north-west of Portland.Screen Shot 2014-04-08 at 9.15.27 AM

Sean Dooley, from BirdLife Australia, said the organisation had contacted the Victorian and federal governments in December over concerns that the planned burns would affect stringybark trees, on which the cockatoos rely for food. Both governments said a new bushfire management plan would be developed in the coming 18 months. ”In the meantime a vital habitat is being destroyed,” he said.

Published in The Age, April 7 2014

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