Tree change for possum protest
By JESSE GRAHAM. Posted on 19 November 2013.
ANTI-LOGGING is the centre of a young conservationist’s protest in Toolangi, which has seen her take to the treetops until the end of the year.
Hannah Patchett began her vigil in a red tree house about 25 metres from the ground on Sunday 10 November in the forest, and plans to stay there until Christmas.
The 20-year-old’s stay in the tree house, which borders a scheduled logging coupe, is to protest against clear-fell logging in areas where the critically endangered Leadbeater’s possum lives.
“I’ve chosen to stay in the Little Red Toolangi Treehouse because I want to see real action taken to save the Leadbeater’s possum from extinction,” she said.
The Surrey Hills South woman said that her stay in the 14 square metre tree house was the first time she had lived out of home and that she hopes her protest will draw more attention to the plight of the possum.
The 2009 Black Saturday bushfires destroyed around 45 per cent of the possum’s best habitat in the forest, with estimates of less than 1000 possums remaining.
Ms Patchett said she has always been interested and concerned about conservation and that she had received a large response to her protest from news organisations, social media and residents.
“A lot of the support I get is from locals – they come up and check on me, give me food and water and anything else I need,” she said.
An advisory group was established by the Victorian Government in response to declining Leadbeater’s possum populations, with representatives from Zoos Victoria, the Victorian Association of Forests and Industry (VAFI) and key stakeholder groups.
The group, the Leadbeater’s Possum Advisory Group (LPAG) will hand its recommendations to the Victorian Government after meetings earlier this year – $1 million has been allocated to the implementation of the group’s recommendations.
For more information on the Little Red Toolangi Treehouse and to follow Hannah’s protest, visit www.facebook.com/pages/little-red-toolangi-treehouse/348794905263862 or www.twitter.com/ToolangiRed.