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Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) paw resting on a tree trunk. Return to the Wild Inc. Toowoomba, southeast Queensland © Doug Gimesy / WWF-Aus

Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) paw resting on a tree trunk. Return to the Wild Inc. Toowoomba, southeast Queensland © Doug Gimesy / WWF-Aus

Tree-clearing kills 68 million animals in Queensland in two years

25 Aug 2017

Keywords
  • birds
  • koalas
  • tree-clearing
  • queensland
  • biodiversity
  • reptiles
  • threatened species

A new WWF-Australia report estimates tree-clearing in Queensland has killed 68 million animals between mid-2013 and mid-2015.

 

The Australian animals lost to bulldozers report can be downloaded here.

 

Wildlife habitat destruction tripled after the previous Queensland government weakened tree protection.

 

WWF-Australia conservation scientist Dr Martin Taylor said in the first two years following the changes, bulldozers destroyed the habitat of an estimated 1.8 million mammals, 5.2 million birds and 61.2 million reptiles.

 

Dr Taylor said animals whose habitat is destroyed don’t just flit off somewhere. They die, either directly killed by bulldozers during clearing or killed afterwards by vehicles, predators, disease, stress, territorial conflict, or starvation.

 

“When their forest homes are destroyed, animals usually endure prolonged suffering before they perish,” said Dr Taylor.

 

“We need to bring back sensible safeguards to protect our Australian bush and unique wildlife,” he said.

 

In addition to the animals killed report, WWF-Australia released dramatic pictures to illustrate the plight of native wildlife following clearing.

 

The young galahs below suffered terrible injuries and had to be euthanised when their hollow tree was felled at Beerwah. While adult birds can escape bulldozers, hatchlings and fledglings are helpless.

 

Hollow nesting galahs (Eolophus roseicapilla) injured during tree-clearing, Queensland. These young galahs suffered terrible injuries and had to be euthanised when their hollow tree was felled at Beerwah.
This squirrel glider (below left) near Chinchilla on the Darling Downs had a lucky escape when its forest home was destroyed because fauna spotter/catchers were present. In almost all cases of tree-clearing however, no fauna spotting or rescue is required in Queensland. Gliders can collide with fences (below right, Darling Downs) when panicked by bulldozers.

 

The forest home of this squirrel glider (Petaurus norfolcensis) was destroyed near Chinchilla on the Darling Downs, Queensland. The squirrel glider was lucky to be recued by a spotter/catcher who was present.

Panicked by a bulldozer this glider collided with a barbed-wire fence near Darling Downs, Queensland © Clare Gover, Return to the Wild Inc. / WWF-Aus

 

 

Millions of reptiles – from skinks and small lizards through to goannas and large snakes – are killed each year by clearing. The black headed python below was discovered dead in central Queensland after being run over by a vehicle. There was large scale clearing in the area at the time. The brown snake (below right) was killed by a bulldozer in Central Queensland.

 

This black-headed python (Aspidites melanocephalus) was discovered dead in central Queensland after being run over by a vehicle. There was large scale clearing in the area at the time.

The brown snake (Pseudonaja textilis) was killed by a machinery in central Queensland.

 

 

WWF-Australia Media Contact:

Paula Kruger, Senior Manager News and Public Affairs, 0407 067 303

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