Tag Archives: housing developments

Birdlife Australia: Long distance champions flying into extinction

8 May 2015

While the world celebrates World Migratory Bird Day this weekend, BirdLife Australia’s Threatened Species Committee has released grim news confirming that seven of Australia’s migratory shorebird species are on a trajectory to extinction.

Australian’s love the battlers, and small-time heroes. These little birds seem insignificant, but they are amazing travellers, facing all the torrents of winds, seas, currents but face increasingly hostile and dwindling safe landings.

“Once common species like Eastern Curlew and Curlew Sandpiper are now Critically Endangered with Bar-tailed Godwit, Red Knot and Great Knot not far behind”, says Samantha vine, Birdlife Australia’s Head of Conservation. In 30 years these birds could be gone forever, and perhaps most alarming is the fact that the once numerous and widespread Red-necked Stint has moved onto the Near Threatened list. Modern Australia, the land of mammal extinctions, is now repeating their “success” with migratory birds!

Read also a previous article on our website: Disappearing migratory shore birds

“This miraculous bird, (Red-necked Stint) no bigger than a sparrow, is capable of flying more than 20,000 km each year. But like other migratory shorebirds, it needs Australia, China, Korea and other Asian nations to work together to protect the rich mudflats that fuel its migration,” continued Ms Vine. If they don’t have a safe stop-over point for rest and food, they die of starvation!
(image: Red-necked Stint (Calidris ruficollis), Winter Plumage, Ralph’s Bay, Tasmania, Australia)

BirdLife Australia is not going to let these birds disappear without a fight. They are calling on the Australian Government to do more to protect migratory shorebirds at home and in Asia. BirdLife has launched a petition asking Federal Environment Minister, Greg Hunt to develop:

        • A strong national wetlands policy to address the cumulative impacts of multiple threats to our shorebirds (the ‘death by a thousand cuts’); and
        • An ambitious strategy to engage our international partners in the protection of habitat important to the survival of our shorebirds.

Wetland habitat loss and degradation is a significant threat to migratory waterbirds, and the conservation of important sites both within Australia and along their migration routes is essential to their survival. Many pressures are contributing to this degradation, of which population growth and associated coastal development are of particular concern.

Housing has become a major industry in Australia. As a result, important habitat is being lost to port developments, housing and industry in Australia each year. But it will also put a spotlight on communities taking action to protect the wetlands and shorebirds they love.

Please sign the petition, Shorebirds in Crisis

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Endangered Legless Lizards threatened by bulldozers

Endangered (and legless) lizard facing bulldozers on Melbourne’s fringe

Populations of the endangered striped legless lizard in Melbourne’s outer west are set for destruction by bulldozer for new housing, and our Premier Daniel Andrews has dismissed any efforts to protect them!

The species looks like a snake but its closest relative is the gecko, and is deemed endangered within Victoria and vulnerable nationally.

15 green and community groups, led by the Victorian National Parks Association say that the federal and state governments should adopt further protections for the existing populations of the creature, potentially in the path of new housing developments.  Nothing seems to be able survive the bulldozers when it comes to housing and population growth!


(image: The distribution of the Striped Legless Lizard (Delma impar))

How can governments promise that there can be both urban growth and conservation of grassland native species?  You can’t have habitats bulldozed for housing, and large conservation areas, co-existing!  It’s a contradiction in terms.

In any conflict, the threatened species will lose out.  There’s large swathes of money to be made, and benefits for real estate and property investors, leaving intrinsic and environmental values lost in any considerations.  It’s about spawning more mortgages, and being able to by-passing any environmental laws that protect endangered species.

Under a deal with Canberra, the state government was required to explore a relocation trial for the species.  This pays lip-service to consideration for species, and assumes that they can simply be “relocated” to neatly comply with developers!  According to VNPA, “900 lizards would be required for successful translocation but this number is based on the most conservative estimates and is much too high.

“The Striped Legless Lizards will now be left to await the bulldozers as habitat hotspots continue to be cleared for urban growth in Melbourne’s west”.

“The habitat for one of Victoria’s most significant endangered species, the Striped Legless Lizard, is rapidly being destroyed and the animals now face death by bulldozer,” the Victorian National Parks Association’s Yasmin Kelsall said in a Media Statement.

The harmless, endangered legless lizard lives in one of Victoria’s critically threatened habitats – the native grasslands of the Victorian Volcanic Plains.

Green Wedges Coalition spokesperson Rosemary West said the lizards now face local extinction.

The steamroller of housing growth just keeps clawing out further into Melbourne’s fringes, with 100,000 more people each year to be accommodated.

Australian National University researchers believe that big mobs of kangaroos destroy the grassland habitats of reptiles.  They found grass over 20 centimetres tall housed the greatest number of reptiles.  An ultra-brutal and extremist conservation policy has seen thousands of ACT kangaroos  “culled” to protect grassland native species.    But, when it comes to the much greater and devastating impact from mechanical, behemoth bulldozers, and the deadly impacts of urban sprawl, any scientific objections are completely overlooked! There were funded studies to condemn the native kangaroos as being environmentally destructive to threatened grassland species, but there will be no condemnation of housing growth!
It’s a tragic example of the failure of conservation in Victoria, and reflects a Third World problem of environmental negligence, ignorance and the destruction of habitat due to prioritizing industries over Nature, and rampant corporate greed!

Download the Joint Statement: (pdf)

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