Rare cockatoos now face starvation threat

Rare cockatoos now face starvation threat

17 January 2012

published by www.news.com.au

Australia — ENDANGERED black cockatoos are being forced into suburban Perth in a desperate search for food, WA conservation groups say.

Scientists, animal carers, and conservation groups from across the state converged in Perth for a crisis meeting today to find a solution for what they say is an “impending starvation crisis”.

Conservation Council of WA director Piers Verstegen said WA’s three endangered species of black cockatoo – Carnaby, Baudin and Forest Red-tailed – were starving to death because their habitat in the Swan Coastal Plain and South-West has largely been lost to logging, land clearing and bushfires.

Mr Verstegen said cockatoo carers had reported they were forced to put down birds that were too starved to be rehabilitated.

“The recent very large bushfires in the South-West, combined with the impacts of last year’s drought, has created a food crisis for cockatoos,” he said.

“To make this critical situation worse, the State Government is now planning to begin logging thousands of hectares in some of the last remaining high conservation value forests that have escaped the bushfires.

“Clearly DEC’s cockatoo recovery plan has failed, and now the cockatoos are in a daily fight for survival.”

WA Forest Alliance spokesperson Jess Beckerling claimed Department of Environment and Conservation prescribed burn escapes charred nearly 100,000 ha of cockatoo habitat in the Nannup area.

“DEC prescribed burning, continued logging of native forests, clearing of urban bushland and years of drought are combining to have catastrophic implications for the cockatoos,” she said.

“We are looking forward to the Environment Minister getting home and giving this serious issue the urgent attention that it deserves.

“The first step is postponing all logging and clearing of cockatoo habitat while we work out what can be done to prevent the extinction of these much-loved West Australian icons.”

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