Media Release: Endangered Masked Owl recorded in Tarkine’s threatened forests at BioBlitz

Media Release 21 November 2016

A remarkably good image given it was taken at night, on a phone camera, through binoculars. Photo: Frank Bird

Citizens and scientists at the Tarkine BioBlitz have detected an endangered masked owl near logging coupes Forestry Tasmania wants to log in February 2017. The Bob Brown Foundation is calling for protection of the Frankland River forests where the masked owl was recorded.

‘Members of our BioBlitz were awestruck when seeing an endangered masked owl in the threatened forests while surveying at night,’ Biodiversity expert and survey leader, Frank Bird said.

‘Citizen scientists are in the forests doing the work Forestry Tasmania fails to do, and recording species dependent on intact forests. Planned destruction of this significant habitat shows disregard for threatened species,’ BioBlitz organiser Nick Fitzgerald said.

‘Protecting endangered species habitat in the Tarkine is urgent, there is an immediate threat to nesting habitat near where this owl was recorded. The survey site east of the Frankland River is some of the best masked owl habitat in the far north-west of Tasmania,’ BioBlitz organiser Nick Fitzgerald said.

‘The Tasmanian masked owl is listed as endangered due to habitat loss, it is the largest barn owl in Australia and only 500 breeding pairs remain. This majestic bird requires large hollow bearing trees, and its survival is dependent on preservation of mature forest habitat,’ Biodiversity expert and survey leader, Frank Bird said.

‘Recent road building for logging in these forests is encroaching on 6000 hectares of pristine forest in the headwaters of the Frankland River. The planned logging would be another ecological disaster for these vast tracts of forests,’ Bob Brown Foundation’s campaigner Jenny Weber said.

‘Presence of the Tasmanian masked owl, two wedge-tailed eagle nests and the giant freshwater crayfish (tayatea) in and around this proposed logging area is proof that Tasmania’s relentless logging regime pushing endangered and globally significant species to extinction needs to cease,’ Jenny Weber said.

Jenny Weber 0427 366 929

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