25 September 2023

Endangered animals grow on trees

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The ACT Conservator has called for greater protection for mature native habitat trees.

The Conservator, Ian Walker said the loss of older native trees had been recognised as one of the main threats facing vulnerable Superb Parrots and Glossy Black-cockatoos in the ACT.

“Mature native trees, which have developed hollows within the trunk and branches, are an important form of habitat for mammals, reptiles, bats and birds, which use the hollows to nest, raise young and shelter from predators,” Mr Walker said.

“Following advice from the ACT Scientific Committee to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, The Loss of Mature Trees and a Lack of Recruitment has been added to the Key Threatening Processes list under the Nature Conservation Act 2014.”

He said this would mean a plan could be developed with detailed measures on what could be implemented to provide greater protection for mature trees.

“Mature trees can provide crucial habitat that can take over a century to replace,” Mr Walker said.

“Hollow formation is an incredibly slow process with most hollows forming in eucalypt trees after 120 years,” he said.

“They are formed through weather damage, branch shedding, insect attack, and advanced through modification by strong-billed native parrots like cockatoos and galahs.”

Since urbanisation and land clearing began in the ACT region, there had been a dramatic decline of mature aged trees.

“Competition for suitable nesting hollows is fierce, and birds such as Superb Parrots, that migrate to the ACT each year, must work extra hard to compete with our resident parrot community for nesting hollows,” Mr Walker said.

“Superb Parrots, like many other threatened Australian birds including Swift Parrots, Brown Treecreepers and Glossy Black-cockatoos, are unlikely to persist in the ACT without stronger protections of hollow-bearing trees,” he said.

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