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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Devils to Denmark Proposal Now Under Threat

Devils to Denmark Proposal Now Under Threat

Devils to Denmark Proposal Now Under Threat as Greens call for More Funding to be Allocated to DFTD Research


The Tasmanian Greens today revealed that the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service has refused to allow the import of Tasmanian Devils due to the lack of knowledge regarding the Tasmanian Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD), and concerns that the disease may cross to other species.

Greens Opposition Environment spokesperson Nick McKim MHA said that the NSW concerns were so serious that the Tasmanian government must commit to increasing funding over a further three year period so that research efforts can be accelerated.

Mr McKim released a letter signed on behalf of the Director General of the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service which raised serious concerns about the Tasmanian government’s response to DFTD, including:

· Lack of knowledge regarding how DFTD is transmitted;

· No research or evidence that DFTD is not transmissible to other species;

· Established criteria to ensure low risk of carrying DFTD not being followed for mainland export proposal;

· A ban has been placed on the export of other dasyurid species from Tasmania, yet the government is willing to export the highest risk species.

“The NSW government has expressed exactly the same concerns raised by the Greens in relation to the ill-conceived Devils to Denmark proposal,” Mr McKim said.

“Surely when faced with an unknown wildlife disease which may jump to other species the last thing you do is spread it all over the world.”

“The strategy of establishing breeding colonies on the mainland now appears to be under threat, and Environment Minister Judy Jackson needs to increase funding so that research efforts can be accelerated.”

“The government should now reconsider its intention to export devils to Denmark, which was conceived as a publicity stunt to make Paul Lennon look good, rather than acting in the best interests of the Tasmanian Devils.”

Mr McKim said that the Tasmanian government’s response to DFTD has been politicised and lacking in transparency, and called on the Lennon the government to cease using the devil for endless self-promotion and let the scientists get on with developing a program which will provide the best outcomes for the Devil.

“The Tasmanian Devil is a listed threatened species, and it deserves better than the shoddy treatment it receives from a Lennon government more interested in ceaseless self promotion than the welfare of one of Tasmania’s icon animals.”

“Judy Jackson has some serious explaining to do regarding why protocols are apparently not being followed.”

Mr McKim said that said that the three year funding commitment for research into DFTD expires at the end of the current financial year, and called on the government to commit to increased funding for another three year period.

“The letter is a damning indictment of the inadequacy of the Tasmanian government’s response to DFTD, and clearly Environment Minister Judy Jackson must commit to increased funding over the next three years,“ Mr McKim said.

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