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Sunday, September 7, 2008

Queensland tree-clearing 'wiping out animals'

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) says forest clearing in Queensland is wiping out tens of millions of animals and driving threatened wildlife to the brink of extinction.

WWF said the annual Statewide Landcover and Trees Study (SLATS) reveals 375,000 hectares of bush were cleared in 2005-06, killing two million mammals, about 9,000 koalas and millions of birds and reptiles.

The group is calling for a clearing moratorium to protect the state's unique wildlife from habitat loss and further destruction and to help combat climate change.

"This amount of clearing is unacceptable to the Australian public," said WWF Queensland program leader Nick Heath. "It's a huge blow for our wildlife, our climate, our rivers and reefs.

"The animals that are wiped out suffer horribly as they are burnt or starved to death.

"In order to function properly, our ecosystems depend greatly on all the plants and animals that are lost.

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The painting is by Laura Tasheiko

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