Miranda’s Daily Blog: Day 14

“In May 2009, the Federal Government uplisted the Tasmanian devil to the Endangered category under the Commonwealth’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

The Tasmanian devil’s status was formally upgraded to Endangered under Tasmania’s Threatened Species Protection Act 1995, in May 2008.

In late 2008, the Tasmanian devil was also uplisted to Endangered on the Red List of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) – widely considered the most authoritative system for classifying species in terms of their risk of extinction.

Populations in which DFTD has been observed for several years have declined by up to 95% (approximate, due to low sample size in recent years), with no evidence to date of either of the decline stopping or the prevalence of the disease decreasing.

The Tasmanian devil is now wholly protected.”

(Save the Tasmanian Devil Program: 2011)

On the night of December 12th 2011 a Tasmanian devil was filmed in this forest. The next day logging began within 100 meters from the very place where that devil was seen. Is this what it means to be “wholly protected?”

The question is:  How can the State and Federal governments allow logging of habitat areas for Tasmania’s most iconic species, which is now under serious threat and is supposedly “wholly protected?” Don’t you think it’s a bit strange how we have all this environmental legislation but Forestry doesn’t have to worry themselves about it?  These amazing forests that provide habitat for endangered and threatened species can be logged with no regard for any regulations of the EPBC Act, because the Regional Forest Agreement exempts forestry operations from such legislation.

I spent the afternoon today sorting through footage captured on our remote sensor cameras. It is always one of my favourite moments… plugging the camera into the computer, waiting in anticipation to see what animals we have on film! I sifted through all the devil footage we have captured in this coupe so far to identify the devils. Almost all the footage is of the one devil. I thought since we are getting to know this little devil so well now, that it deserved a name. I have named it Davina the Devil. Named after my sister (whose middle name is Davina) because she has been such an amazing support and inspiration for me throughout this project. Davina the Devil has been captured on film earlier this year when we first began surveying this forest, right below me at the base of this tree

Then again Davina was seen in another location in this coupe in September. December 12, the night before logging started is the last time Davina was seen. The logging is within 100 meters of that location. I hope that sometime soon we will get more footage of Davina so that we know nothing terrible has happened.

Check out the footage of Davina and the other animals we have filmed on the “Fauna TV” page of this website. I’ll keep updating this page as more footage comes in. People will be moving and checking the cameras every few weeks, and sending the footage up to me in the tree so I can upload it for you to see.

It is with mixed emotions that I watch this footage. It brings so much joy to see these animals that live in these forests. Particularly the devils because they are quiet shy, so it is rare to see them. The remote sensor cameras give us a chance to get a glimpse into their world without imposing on them.  However, it also saddens me to see them; going about their business, not knowing what is to become of their forest over the next few months. It is an international disgrace that Tasmania continues to allow the destruction of habitat of endangered species. It makes a complete mockery of any endangered species legislation if listed species receive no protection from the loss of habitat. This is why it is even more critical that these forests receive protection.  Julia’s’ broken promise is not only a threat to the giant eucalypts; it is a threat to the survival of the precious wildlife that call these forests home. Please take action today to help protect Davina the Devil.

Posted on December 28, 2011, in Daily Blog, Fauna Videos. Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Just visited the Tiger display at Wilderness Gallery y’day. “ignorance and misunderstanding” hastened its extinction, interestingly the info also mentioned roads and the expansion of human activity also as causative. In this case, it seems tas has not learnt from the past ignorance and is failing to appreciate and act upon the knowledge we have today. Thanks for your posts and data gathering, hopefully sanity will prevail!

  2. i love that you named the devil Davina and am sure your sister will too :-). It is so speical to see these little animals going about their business and so disgraceful that in a flash they can be homeless…. you are right to question what does wholly protected mean. love x

  3. Thank you Miranda. I took action and contacted the Prime Minister with the following message:

    “Please act to enforce the immediate protection that was given to the 430,000 ha of state forest in Tasmania which is identified in the TFIA 2011. At the moment, it is being logged via Forestry Tasmania, our State owned Government Business Enterprise.

    Money has already gone to Gunns, FT and some contractors – but the immediate protection of the 430,000 ha has not happened.

    The agreement is being broken. Please act to honour it.”

  4. So true, you brave Woman, it is a shame that such happens, both with the unique Flora and Fauna down there. Keep on, dear Miranda to “fight”, i have spread Your videos and blogs to my F-book friends here in Europe. All the best! Martti Kedrin

  5. You are indeed correct – Miranda. Sadly the term “wholly protected” seems to be a catch phrase used by politicians and project managers to imply that endangered flora and fauna are being adequately “watched over” by the government. It appears that simply monitoring a species to extinction is deemed an adequate way of watching over (the demise of) that species. This keeps people at universities busy with their phds, writing papers and seeking out future funding, and people in government are kept busy and appear to be taking urgent action.

    Another sad thing is that habitat for devils is not considered important – because it is the DFTD (devil facial tumour disease) that is the PRIMARY cause of the rapid demise of devil populations – not habitat destruction. And although anything that threatens the populations of endangered species should be considered an urgent issue – I guess nobody makes any money protecting habitat – and so the cycle of endangerement continues.

    I just bought another 5,000 of the ‘protect my habitat’ devil stickers I made – hopefully they’ll be available in the new year – let me know how many you would like and where you would like me to put them.

    Thinking of you always
    Colette xoxoxoxox

    PS could you please txt me with your name in it – my phone has stopped recognising mobile phone numbers 😦

  6. In addition to my last comment – I am shocked and incensed that there is STILL no legislation to make compulsory the checking of all coupes for active devil and quoll dens – especially during that time of the year (usually in a period between July and January) when the young devils are concealed within dens while the mother devil is out foraging. In a time when every healthy devil is essential to the survival of wild populations of Tasmanian devils it is abhorrent to think that dens are being bulldozed with healthy young devils trapped inside and left to die.

  7. Dear Premier,
    in your ‘From the Premiers Desk – Our forest industry is changing’, you wrote about the TFIA that…

    “It also ensures we will honour all existing forestry contracts”.

    I point out that Clause 27 provides that where rescheduling outside the 430 cannot be achieved, existing forestry contracts will be honoured by compensating the contract holder for ‘lost profits and unavoidable costs’.

    Premier, please act to enforce the immediate protection that was given to the 430,000 ha of state forest in Tasmania which is identified in the TFIA 2011. At the moment, it is being logged via Forestry Tasmania, our State owned Government Business Enterprise.

    Money has already gone to Gunns, FT and some contractors – but the immediate protection of the 430,000 ha has not happened.

    As you will be aware, logging has continued to occur within the ‘430’.
    The agreement is being broken. Please act to honour it.

    FYI: http://observertree.org/about/

    -Garry Stannus
    Code Green

  8. I have only seen Tassie Devils live in captivity, or dead in the wild- as roadkill. I suspect that lack of genetic diversity will result in their demise by this horrible disease. It’s tragic but i support the creation of ‘arks’ as an attempt to maintain the species -for once they are gone there will be nothing to stop introduced species including cats taking over- believe me i have seen a young black cat at the most isolated hut on the Overland track back about 2008- I discovered that others had seen it targeting Tiger Quolls- nothing is sacred. If cats get a foothold there it will be curtains for native wild life in Tasmania

  9. James is right and ‘fully protected’ cannot be entrusted to Tasmanian or Australian politics. Only UNESCO World Heritage Listing offer the enduring promise of ‘fully protected’

    But to offer honest hope of protection, the natural criterion for World Heritage listing must include Criterion X (10):

    ‘to contain the most important and significant natural habitats for in-situ conservation of biological diversity, including those containing threatened species of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science or conservation.’

    It is this criterion that is the current real hope for the remaining Davinas and ‘Front Sits’ of Tasmania’s natural forests.

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