Queensland station suspected of illegal logging in the Great Barrier Reef watershed



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Published

November 23, 2017, 20:20:43

A North Queensland cattle station is being accused of illegally logging 60 hectares of forest in the Great Barrier Reef watershed, an area believed to harbor koalas and other endangered species.

ABC News understands that the Wombinoo Station, southwest of Cairns, is under federal investigation for clearing land without approval.

Images of drones and satellite images show the cleanup occurred last month, allegedly in areas that the pastoral company had not yet approved to clarify under federal law.

"None of this has been approved under the Federal Government's EPBC Act, so matters of national environmental importance have not even been considered," said Gemma Plesman of the Wilderness Society.

"In this particular example, [it’s] clearing koala habitat, for gliders and clearing that occurred in the Great Barrier Reef basin," he said.

Wombinoo Station ini applied in its entirety to clean more than 500 hectares of land, but is still pending approval after an environmental badessment that was completed in 2016.

That badessment found that the area harbored a population of Greater Gliders, had a good chance of being a koala habitat and harbored other threatened or endangered species.

The badessment was also mentioned as a consideration that the Wombinoo Station is in the Great Barrier Reef watershed.

The station made a new application this year to clear more than 2,700 hectares, and has not yet been approved.

A spokesman for the Federal Environment Minister, Josh Frydenberg, said he could not comment while the matter was being investigated.

In a statement, the minister confirmed that clearing was a responsibility of the Federal Government in cases where clearing is likely to have a significant impact on national environmental issues such as endangered species or the Great Barrier Reef. "

The attorneys acting for the Wilderness Society have written to the Federal Government about the cleanup at Wombinoo Station.

" We ask the state and federal authorities to conduct an urgent investigation to determine whether or not the violation has been violated. Federal Environmental Law, we suspect so, "said Ms. Plesman.

& # 39; Injuries tend to be pretty horrible & # 39;

Dr. Jon Hanger, a wildlife veterinarian of more than 30 years, said widespread land cleansing has devastating effects on koalas and other animals that can not run or fly when the excavators advance.

It is common for farmers to use excavators to clear large tracts of trees, often dragging a huge chain between two machines to knock down the trees.

Dr. Hanger said that the method gave wildlife little chance of escape.

"Injuries tend to be quite horrible, they are major traumas, where there are mbadive crushing injuries, torn limbs [and] broken intestines," he said.

Dr. Hanger said that even more damage was done when the owners burned the felled logs, as seen in the images of the Wombinoo station, because the animals often sought refuge in the piles of logs.

He said it was necessary to stop the generalized clearing

"When governments allow this large-scale clearing without knowing how many koalas are there and what the risks are going to be, that is really reaching a level where we say & # 39; that's unacceptable on this day of age & # 39;.

He said he had operated on a mutilated koala in a clearing that had torn his arm.

"If you did that to your cattle dog you would end up in jail, there's no doubt about it"

Topics:

welfare of the animals,

forests,

forestry,

land clearing,

Great Barrier Reef,

cairns-4870

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