Parks Victoria protects precious habitat from wood thieves
Monday 30 September, 2019
To protect the vital habitats of native animals, Parks Victoria is rolling out surveillance equipment and rangers are patrolling seven days a week in a crackdown on illegal tree felling and removal within parks and reserves in northern Victoria.
Smaller hidden cameras with the ability to send photos of offenders to Parks Victoria in real time are being used to allow rangers to quickly detect illegal activity and take action.
Significant hollow trees have been cut down and removed from national parks, destroying important habitats for mammals, reptiles, birds and invertebrates.
Offences have been detected and fines issued across central and northern Victoria in recent months. For example:
- In Tocumwal Regional Park, over 40 standing trees were illegally felled. The offenders were caught on camera and in person by patrolling rangers and fined more than $4000.
- Around Mildura, numerous people have been detected on camera or caught red handed illegally removing firewood with thousands of dollars of fines being issued. In one case an offender was detected repeatedly illegally removing wood on three separate occasions and fined almost $2000.
- Around Maryborough, five people have been caught illegally removing firewood in various parks and reserves, with thousands of dollars of fines also issued. Victoria Police have been involved in patrolling with Parks Victoria rangers.
From July this year an operation is targeting people who are allegedly cutting down trees to supply buyers with firewood.
Firewood can only be collected from designated collection areas in certain areas during permitted seasons. Details of where firewood can be collected on public land is available at http://www.delwp.vic.gov.au/parks-forests-and-crown-land/firewood
Quotes attributable to Chris Mercier, Statewide Enforcement Operations, Parks Victoria:
“Tree hollows provide precious habitat for hundreds of species of native birds, mammals, reptiles and invertebrates like the Squirrel Glider, Brush-tailed Phascogale, Regent Parrot, Red-tailed Black Cockatoo and the Tree Goanna.
“If you observe anyone causing damage to park habitat, removing wood or have information about environmental offences please contact Parks Victoria on 13 1963. All information will be treated confidentially.”