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All eyes on diseased wildlife

Tasmanians should be vigilant, looking for and reporting animals suffering from a range of diseases in the bush including in our National parks and World Heritage Area, says Greens Deputy Leader, Christine Milne.

 

Senator Milne made the plea following news of widespread animal disease spreading throughout the state.

"Experts are continuing to be alarmed at the prevalence of wildlife disease affecting many of our native species, but it's becoming increasingly difficult to monitor the situation with the current scant research allowances, and a drastically under-funded Parks and Wildlife service with so few rangers on the ground."

"Without eyes on the ground we will never know the full extent of Tasmanian wildlife disease, which means we risk sending many species needlessly towards extinction."

"So I am calling on all Tasmanians to become the eyes we desperately need. While enjoying the bush, if we are vigilant and aware of the numerous diseases currently affecting our devils, our wombats, frogs, platypus and more, then we have made the first steps toward managing this unfolding crisis."

Tasmanians should familiarise themselves with the diseases from scabies in wombats, to chytrid fungus in frogs and fungal lesions in platypus as well as devil facial tumour disease. Even our eastern barred bandicoot and wallabies are suffering from toxoplasmosis.

"If you suspect you have seen any wild animal looking diseased, please take note of the species, the condition, plus the place and time you saw it before reporting it to the Parks and Wildlife service."

"Parks have a dedicated emergency disease hotline, and it's vital we use it as there are unknown numbers of native species falling ill and dying in our protected areas."

"Bushwalkers look out for diseased wombats and echidnas; if you're out fishing look out for platypus and frogs; and even if you're out for a drive, lookout for road kill that exhibits signs of disease. Echidnas in particular are vulnerable to being killed on roads and by stopping and looking under their paws for distorting swellings, people will be helping to save the species."

"If our Parks and Wildlife service know what's out there, where the diseases are occurring, and to what extent, then we are much better placed to deal with the situation. Please get behind our native wildlife."

The Emergency Disease Hotline is available 24 hours a day on: 1800 675 888

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