Over 100 people attended a snap vigil for Victoria's forest dependent threatened species on the steps of Victorian parliament house yesterday.
The vigil was called just four days ago in response the the Victorian and Federal government's decision to extend the East Gippsland Regional Forest Agreement (RFA).
The RFA exempts logging from complying with federal environment laws that protect threatened species. It has been a disaster for forest wildlife and it's extension is set to lock on more legally exempt destruction of critically important habitat.
GECO campaigner Ed Hill addressed the crowd and described the various threatened species in East Gippsland's forests that are under threat from logging. Hill told the crowd that extension of the agreement would have a particularly disastrous impact on greater gliders, a species recently listed as Vulnerable on the federal threatened speceis list. Despite the recent listing of greater gliders and their well documented decline from logging under the RFA the state government has failed to develop appropriate protections.
Amelia Young from the Victorian Wilderness Society spoke about ongoing logging in habitat for Victoria's state emblem, the Leadbeater's possum and criticised the Andrew's government for failing to do anything to protect its habitat since taking office nearly two years ago. Young reiterated the warnings of scientists that without the creation of the proposed Great Forest National Park in Victoria's central highlands, the Leadbeater's possum faces extinction.
Young praised the work of citizen scientists, who are conducting their own surveys because of the failure VicForests and the state government to look for threatened species before logging commences.
A choir group called "Singing for Toolangi" entertained the crowd and lifted people's spirits before a group photo was taken.
The next public rally calling for protection of Victoria's forests is being organised by the Wilderness Society. People will gather on the steps on Parliament house calling for the creation of the Great Forest National Park on February 21st.
A number of people who couldn't make it to today's action took solidarity pics and sent them in. View them in the gallery below.