Tell the Minister for the Environment, Ingrid Stitt, and the Minister for Agriculture, Gayle Tierney,
that they should save our “Dunnies”
Put your name and email in the form below to email the boxed text to Ministers Stitt and Tierney.
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(Photo: Emily Scicluna)
Subject: Save our “Dunnies”
Dear Minister Stitt and Minister Tierney,
I write in support of listing the Fat-tailed Dunnart as Vulnerable in Victoria.
On 23 February 2023, the Victorian Government’s Scientific Advisory Committee made a significant recommendation. Under Victoria’s Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988, they support the nomination of the Fat-tailed Dunnart as Vulnerable.
We urge you to accept the nomination. This is the critical first step in reversing the preventable decline of the Fat-tailed Dunnart. This ferocious 15 gram predator is the last small marsupial of our grasslands not yet extinct.
Australia is the world leader in mammal extinctions. We have driven at least 38 species to extinction since colonial invasion.
Traditional custodians have lived and cared for the once-bountiful grasslands of the Victorian Volcanic Plain for over 60,000 years. In less than 200 years we have decimated those grasslands. We have destroyed habitat, introduced predators, and poisoned and hunted the fauna they are home to. This has taken a grave toll on the continent’s native animals. Not even two per cent of our wildflower ‘prairies’ remain, and only a tiny fraction of that remains undegraded.
Bandicoots, potoroos, quolls, bilbies, marsupial mice and more. The vast majority of these never-to-be-seen-again creatures relied on grassland habitat. The last surviving small marsupial of the grasslands is now on the road to extinction. We must make every effort to prevent that from happening.
There is a long-term trend of Victorian farmers switching from grazing to cropping. This is a serious threat to many of the remaining Fat-tailed Dunnart populations. Cropping means rock and shelter-belt removal, ploughing, drainage modification, fertilising, biocide use and unnatural burning regimes. This, along with the replacement of grasslands with monoculture crops, mean death for the Dunnart.
We urgently need comprehensive research that draws together the wealth of long-term data on Fat-tailed Dunnarts. This would identify population strongholds and help minimise any accidental impacts from agriculture and development.
We urgently need an Action Plan that takes a comprehensive and strategic approach to conserving this iconic species.
Once again, we urge you to help save our “Dunnies” and:
- Accept the recommendation for listing as Vulnerable
- Begin research to identify existing populations
- Develop an Action Plan within six months of listing.
You have a vital role to play in protecting the last small marsupial of Victoria’s grasslands. Please act wisely to protect the surviving Fat-tailed Dunnarts.