‘Political’ Category

Leadbeater's Possum

In 1867 Europeans discovered the existence of a new species of possum. Named after John Leadbeater, a taxidermist at the Museum of Victoria, it was given the classification of Gymnobelideus leadbeateri and is the only species in the Gymnobelideus genus.

A lack of sightings during the period of 1909 until 1961 led to the presumption that it was extinct. That is until on April 3, 1961 Eric Wilkinson rediscovered their existence.

Leadbeater’s Possums are rarely seen: they are nocturnal, small (about 10 cm long and about 90 grams), fast-moving, and occupy the upper story of old growth mountain ash forests, some of the tallest forests in the world. They live in tree hollows anywhere from 6 to 30 metres above ground level. These hollows form in trees when they reach about 150 years of age. They have a home range territory of 10,000 to 20,000 square metres.

They require both large dead trees with hollows for housing and mature regrowth for food. They also require both of these to be replenished through the natural cycle of forest life.

Professor David LindenmayerProfessor David Lindenmayer (DSc. Ph.D Dip. Ed. BSc.), who completed a PhD in 1990 on ‘The Ecology and Habitat Requirements of Leadbeater’s Possum’, and has studied the possum and its habitat for 30 years has written to the Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke requesting the possum’s conservation status be upgraded urgently from endangered to critically endangered under federal bio diversity protection laws.

“Unless we move quickly, we’ll see this animal go extinct within 25 years. If governments do nothing, then Leadbeater’s possum is stuffed… We are quick to accuse other countries, like Indonesia, of clearing wildlife habitat, but we need to look at our own backyard first. What we are doing to our native forests and wildlife is just as bad” he said.

In a recent paper, Professor Lindenmayer warned Australia had already lost 99 per cent of its old-growth mountain ash forests, with “catastrophic implications” for bushfire control, water harvesting and wildlife conservation.

Whilst this story highlights just one species of fauna and its habitat, the impact on all habitats and inhabitants, whether through natural or anthropogenic causes, needs to be addressed to ensure the continued bio diversity of this planet.

I encourage all readers to contact Tony Burke who can be reached at Tony.Burke.MP@environment.gov.au to voice your support for Professor David Lindenmayer’s letter requesting the upgrade to the conservation status of the Leadbeater’s Possum.

The Kritic has sent an email to Mr Burke and will update this story with any response received from Mr Burke or his office.


  1. Rosslyn Beeby article March 27, 2012 – Leadbeater’s possum faces ‘managed extinction’ without action
  2. Wikipedia article – Leadbeater’s Possum

Blatant Buttheads

Blatant ButtheadsSource: TKK

As I wander this country, from it’s vast remoteness to the ever sprawling developed areas, the inescapable evidence of Human’s impact never ceases to amaze me.  Some of the things I see are, supposedly, ‘necessary’ for the survival of the species, such as the infrastructure, some things not so.

One thing that is definitely not necessary is trash.  For this post I am not writing about matter that is properly disposed of. I’m referring to what is generally termed as litter.

Litter comes from two sources, one being poorly designed receptacles allowing the trash to escape, the other being poorly designed Human’s intentionally discarding their trash wherever and whenever they feel.

The biggest and most blatant offenders in this latter category is the smoker.

Of all litter, the most ubiquitous form is the cigarette butt. Dropped wherever the smoker stands or, by the ones seemingly embarrassed by what they are about to do, flicked into the nearest garden bed or bush.

From personal experience; during a recent 6 km hike around the beautiful Dove Lake in the shadow of Cradle Mountain  I was enthralled by the natural beauty encompassing me.

At every view point along the hike there is amazing scenery to be enjoyed by man and beast alike. Wildlife is also abundant for those that care to look and listen.

Unfortunately, as with most things that involve Humans, there was one huge blight on the whole experience – Cigarette butts were to be seen everywhere.

The Parks & Wildlife Service of Tasmania have well placed signs indicating the Leave Nothing, Take Nothing approach for people visiting the area. This works well for the usual drink containers, chip and lolly packets etc.

Cigarette smokers, however, deem themselves above this policy.

It is estimated that 4.5 trillion butts are littered worldwide each year.  Whether this figure is high or low is irrelevant as just one butt in the environment is too many.

Over the years there have been numerous campaigns that I can remember, even as a kid, telling smokers that they need to be responsible. That’s a period of at least 30 years.

They simply do not get the message.

Want evidence of this occurring? Want evidence of the harm it causes? Take some time to check out the following links.

It is time for a whole new approach.

I propose the following:

  1. The immediate increase in on the spot fines for the incorrect disposal of cigarette butts.
  2. A compulsory training session for repeat offenders.
  3. For chronic offenders a community service sentence – out on patrol picking up cigarette butts.
  4. A freecall number to dob in a smoker who offends.
  5. and finally, probably the one that will get the most attention, is the imposition of an environmental levy of $5.00 per packet of cigarettes. This levy to be passed on entirely to environmental campaigns aimed at protecting the earth.

Sounds harsh? Poor smoker cannot possibly afford it? I DON’T CARE. Smokers have been getting away with this for far too long and must be held accountable for their actions.