26th April 2012 – 15 conservationists from Still Wild Still Threatened, Huon Valley Environment Centre and Code Green are conducting a “sit in” at Forestry Tasmania’s Hobart headquarters, dressed as Tasmanian devils. The groups are calling for the protection of maternal devil den sites and formal reserves to secure habitat areas. The “devils” have occupied the atrium of the Forestry Tasmania building and are refusing to leave.
Today’s action highlights community concerns surrounding recent findings of a healthy juvenile devil in an area scheduled for logging, in the forest of the Tyenna Valley, surrounding The Observer Tree. Miranda Gibson, permanent resident of The Observer Tree platform for the past four months, released footage of the young devil on Monday
“This footage is evidence of the existence of devil dens in the area. In December Still Wild Still Threatened released footage of a mother devil in the same location. Had logging proceeded in this area over summer, the maternal den site would have been disturbed and this young devil may not have survived. This highlights the importance of protecting these forests for the future survival of this species” said Ms Gibson
“Maternal dens are used from generation to generation. It is likely that this young devil may raise young in the same area. With these findings it is now more critical than ever that these high conservation value forests are formally protected” said Ms Gibson.
“Tasmanians are calling for greater protection for Tasmania’s most iconic species. The Tasmanian devil and other endemic species are at risk of extinction due to rapid decreases in population and secure undisturbed habitat. The community is demanding Forestry Tasmania and the State Government install immediate measures to ensure the restoration and protection of habitat for our unique species. Protection of the 572,000ha of native forests, over half of which were identified by the government’s experts as key habitat for the Tasmanian Devil, is the obvious first step to take.” said spokesperson for today’s action Ali Alishah (Still Wild Still Threatened).
Four conservationists have been arrested today at Forestry Tasmania’s Hobart headquarters. An alliance of forest groups including Still Wild Still Threatened, Huon Valley Environment Centre and Code Green conducted a “sit in” dressed as Tasmanian devils. The “devils” occupied the atrium of the Forestry Tasmania building and refused to leave. Four demonstrators were arrested and charged with committing a Trespass. They have subsequently been released on bail.
“Today’s successful action has shown the level of community concern regarding the welfare of this endangered species. With recent findings of a healthy juvenile devil in the forest near the base of my tree, there has been widespread concern about the impact of logging operations on young devils and in particular on maternal devil dens” said Still Wild Still Threatened spokesperson Miranda Gibson.
“These committed conservationists today have risked arrest in order to highlight the plight of the endangered Tasmanian devil. The protection of habitat and maternal den sites is a critical first step to ensuring the survival of the Tasmanian devil” said Ms Gibson.