The recent catastrophic bushfires have already destroyed vast swathes of Victoria’s native forests and millions of animals, including threatened wildlife. Shockingly, despite the devastation, the Victorian government’s logging agency – VicForests – continues to log unburnt forests home to threatened wildlife.
Threatened species like the Greater Glider and the Powerful Owl have lost much of their remaining habitat, pushing them even closer to extinction. Even our beloved Koala is in danger.
It’s a devastating blow to the places and wildlife we love.
The Supreme Court case
WOTCH, a community group of citizen scientists from Victoria’s Central Highlands, has launched a Supreme Court case against VicForests to stop the state-owned agency from logging areas of unburnt habitat for threatened species impacted by the bushfires – including the Greater Glider, Sooty Owl, Powerful Owl and Smoky Mouse.
Represented by EJA, WOTCH alleges that logging where fire-affected threatened species have been sighted or their habitat exists is unlawful until the state and federal governments have concluded their bushfire biodiversity response and threatened species are protected in light of the findings.
The Victorian government’s own preliminary response to the bushfires lists the threatened Greater Glider, Smoky Mouse, Sooty and Powerful Owls among the “fauna species of most immediate concern”. And yet clear-fell logging continues in their habitat!
This is the first court case to protect threatened species in the wake of the bushfires.