Avian Conservation

To: Birding Aus <>
Subject: Avian Conservation
From: Laurie&Leanne Knight <>
Date: Wed, 03 Jul 2002 20:20:19 +1000
I'm not sure whether the author of this press release got all the fatcs
straight, or whether all the species are on Sean Dooley's twitch list ...

Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp

1 July 2002


The Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, today
announced a boost in the protection of five of Australia's threatened bird
species and the inclusion of four albatross breeding sites around Tasmania as
the first listings under the national Register of Critical Habitat.

"The Register of Critical Habitat is a new list which, for the first time, seeks
to identify and protect habitats vital to the survival of threatened species,"
Dr Kemp said.

Dr Kemp said the five bird species would be added to the national list of
threatened species under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity
Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

"Two of Australia's critically endangered ocean going birds, the Round Island
Petrel and the Herald Petrel have been added to the EPBC list to help prevent
further declines in their numbers," Dr Kemp said.

"The birds are found in some of the most remote parts of Australia, with the
Round Island Petrel breeding on North Keeling Island in the Indian Ocean and the
Herald Petrel breeding on Raine Island and other small coral atolls in the 
Coral Seas
around the Great Barrier Reef.

"Due to their restricted breeding areas, they are extremely vulnerable to
extreme weather conditions such as cyclones, fire and introduced predators such
as rats and feral cats.

"Three other smaller birds have also been recognised as being under threat; the
King Island Scrubtit, the Yellow Chat, which is only found on Queensland's
Curtis Island, and the Spotted Quail Thrush of the Mt Lofty Ranges.

"These three species are critically endangered as a result of threats such as
fire, loss of habitat and grazing. King Island Scrubtit numbers have declined to
only 200 individuals, largely as a result of tick infestation," Dr Kemp said.

Dr Kemp also announced today the listing of four Tasmanian islands under the
national Register of Critical Habitat. This decision highlights the importance
of these areas as key albatross breeding sites. The sites to be listed on the
Register under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999
are Macquarie Island, Albatross Island, The Mewstone and Pedra Branca.

"The listing of albatross breeding habitats under Commonwealth legislation will
increase the profile and protection of these magnificent birds. This listing
represents a milestone in Australia's efforts to prevent a further decline of
the species and will assist in future efforts toward their long-term recovery,"
Dr Kemp said.

"These four islands provide habitat critical to the survival of the Wandering
Albatross, Shy Albatross and the Grey-headed Albatross, all of which are
threatened species.

"Macquarie Island, Albatross Island, The Mewstone and Pedra Branca provide the
only suitable breeding habitat under Australian jurisdiction for the Wandering
Albatross, Shy Albatross and Grey-headed Albatross.

"If these habitats were lost it is unlikely that these species would survive as
albatrosses tend to return to the same breeding sites year after year and the
populations found on these islands would be unlikely to breed elsewhere."

All four of these remote islands are designated as protected areas in Australia,
with Macquarie Island, The Mewstone and Pedra Branca designated as World
Heritage Areas. The Tasmanian Government manages these islands.

More information on the Register of Critical Habitat can be found on the
Internet at: Copies of the
Recovery Plan for Albatrosses and Giant Petrels are available by calling
toll-free 1800 803 772 or on the Environment Australia web site at:

"The listing of these species and habitats under Commonwealth legislation will
help to prevent their further decline and reflects the Commonwealth's
recognition of the importance of their conservation values," Dr Kemp said.

Under the EPBC Act, listed species are considered to be a matter of National
Environmental Significance. As a consequence, any activity that has, will have,
or is likely to have a significant impact on them may need to be assessed and
approved by the Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage.

Media contact:
Catherine Job (02) 6277 7640 or 0408 648 400
Birding-Aus is on the Web at
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