MY congratulations for your front-page report in the October 21 edition headlined “Freeway to extinction’.
For a fair while now, our Federal and State environmental laws have protected the magnificent cockatoo.
Yet despite such wonderful “mitigation strategies” such as buying offsets and checking potential breeding trees prior to clearing, this iconic bird is in serious trouble and will probably disappear in our lifetime.
You don’t have to be a David Attenborough to understand that the idea of providing offsets is actually quite nonsensical. We will buy 560 hectares somewhere else to make up for clearing 89 hectares here.
That 560 hectares of habitat already exists and presumably is available to the cockies. It is not extra habitat.
When we clear land, it means a net loss in habitat unless we rehabilitate previously cleared land, hectare for hectare.
Birdlife Australia has clearly established what is happening as a result of our mitigation strategies. There is no sense in sugar-coating it.
The Great Cocky Count, which this year involved 592 volunteers observing and counting at 322 survey sites, has concluded there has been a 14 per cent decline in cocky numbers just this year.
Environment Minister Albert Jacob says that the species receives special protection. Clearly this protection is not working.
If we continue like this, it is unlikely that my children’s children will ever see a Carnaby’s cockatoo.
Yes, we need freeways, but let us not just pretend that our mitigation strategies are enough to compensate for the vegetation we are clearing at such extraordinary rates.
While we keep pretending, we won’t come up with solutions.
SABINE WINTON, Nowergup