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Campbell must act to save Tasmanian Devil

Campbell must act to save Tasmanian Devil: Greens

Federal Environment Minister Ian Campbell must now act on his decision to formally recognise the Tasmanian Devil as vulnerable, Australian Greens Senator for Tasmania Senator Christine Milne said today.

"Minister Campbell's decision to list the Tasmanian Devil as vulnerable under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 is welcome but he now needs to develop a recovery plan to save the species," Senator Milne said in Canberra.

"In his decision, he states that the devil population 'has undergone, is suspected to have undergone or is likely to undergo in the immediate future a severe reduction in numbers'.

"The Commonwealth now needs to determine the key threatening processes to the survival of the Tasmanian Devil, and to develop a recovery plan in cooperation with the state government.

"The Tasmanian government still has not identified the cause of the

Devil Facial Tumour Disease which has seen the devil population change from super-abundance in the early 1990s to being threatened with extinction in 2006.

"In the past few years, many Tasmanians have been frustrated that the state government has monitored the spread of the disease and established 'insurance' populations but has failed to determine the cause of the disease and to thoroughly investigate the potential environmental triggers.

"The habitat destruction and the use of 1080 poison by the forest industry should be regarded as threats to the ongoing survival of the

Tasmanian Devil.

"The misuse of carcinogenic chemicals like Phosdrin needs to be investigated as a possible cause of the disease. It is known that property owners in north-east Tasmania laced carcasses with Phosdrin and killed up to 800 devils in the 1980s. Whether the use of this poison triggered a collapse of the devil immune system or mutation in surviving animals has not yet been adequately investigated.

"The Commonwealth must now become more actively involved in overseeing the science to try to establish the cause of this disease."

Senator Campbell listed the Tasmanian Devil under the EPBC Act on 4 May 2006. The document was tabled in federal parliament late yesterday. A copy is available on request or at the ComLaw website using identifier Federal Register of Legislative Instruments F2006L01594.

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