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Thursday, January 19, 2006

Greens slam Mary's Devils gift - National Breaking News - Breaking News 24/7 - NEWS.com.au

Greens slam Mary's Devils gift - National Breaking News - Breaking News 24/7 - NEWS.com.au

A PLAN to send the Danish prince a pair of Tasmanian devils is an outlandish proposal on a par with China sending him birds, the state Greens say.Premier Paul Lennon announced in October the Government would send a pair of breeding Tasmanian devils to Copenhagen Zoo to commemorate the birth of Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary's first child.
But Greens environment spokesman Nick McKim yesterday said NSW had blocked imports of all Tasmanian mammals and marsupials due to the disease-ravaged devil.
Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD) has decimated the wild devil population.
Scientists are yet to identify a cause or cure for the disease.
Environment Minister Judy Jackson said yesterday the government placed its own moratorium on devil movement in the early stages of DFTD, but had removed it as knowledge increased.

There were now protocols for the movement of devils between wildlife parks in Tasmania and interstate, she said.
Ms Jackson said the Government respected NSW's decision not to import devils, "even if it appears they have their facts wrong".
Mr McKim today said Ms Jackson should investigate the protocols with a view to tightening the established rules.
"With the government making the bizarre decision to potentially export a new wildlife disease across the planet, surely Ms Jackson is concerned that protocols which have been established may not be being followed," he said.
"I assume Ms Jackson would not allow birds from China imported into Tasmania, so why is she insisting that devils potentially infected with a largely unknown disease be exported to the other side of the planet as a publicity stunt?"
NSW banned the import of Tasmanian mammals and marsupials in December.
A letter written on behalf of the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service director-general Lisa Corbyn and obtained by the Greens said there was no evidence DFTD was not transmitted to other species and the ban would remain until concerns were addressed.
Comment was being sought from the Government.

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