Forest Rescue

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Save Helms Forest!

GWN7 news item from Monday 18th September, covering the campaign to protect Helms and the threat to endangered black cockatoos from the logging of Helms by the FPC.

The news reader got it wrong.

Helms is not the cockatoos ONLY remaining habitat but it's a vital part of it because it's right next to a major cockatoo rehabilitation and breeding centre and the cockatoos are released from there directly into Helms. All of the remaining Jarrah/Marri forest is important feeding and breeding habitat to ALL 3 of WA's endangered black cockatoo species - Forest Red-tailed, Carnaby's and Baudin's Black Cockatoos.

Much of the forest around the rehabilitation centre has been recently severely burned by an escaped DEC burnoff and also much of the forest has been disturbed and damaged by logging by the FPC. Recently, the cockatoos have become all too common on the Swan Coastal Plain because they are struggling to find enough food in the forest. The best food source for all 3 species are Marri trees with their huge gum nuts and large seeds inside but the cockatoos are being forced to seek food in areas where they don't normally spend too much time, like the suburbs and roadsides around Perth. Hanging around highly populated areas looking for food, they risk being shot, hit by cars and trucks and being poisoned by eating exotic plants that they wouldn't normally touch unless they are very hungry. Many are being found during the hotter months and turned in to rehabilitation centres in a very poor condition, starving and exhausted.

It all adds up to the gradual but very likely extinction of all 3 species of these black cockatoos as they have been in decline for decades and the decline is accelerating now.

Logging is reducing the number of older hollow bearing Marri and Jarrah trees that they nest in and feed on. This has recently been confirmed by Ron Johnstone of the WA Museum and has long been suspected by environment groups. Marri and banksia trees are regularly targeted by the Forest Products Commission to be notched and poisoned (killed off) and these are vital food sources for the birds.

Nothing is as black and white as the news readers or the forest industry tells us! Reality and life's not that simple.

Posted by Simon Peterffy on September 18, 2012 at 11:04 PM 7174 Views

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