Victoria’s logging agency has halted the practice on the Errinundra Plateau in East Gippsland after the discovery of a colony of rare greater gliders.
The Goongerah Environment Centre conducted a night time citizen survey on Monday and found 15 of the rare possums in two areas earmarked for logging.
The greater glider has large furry ears, is capable of gliding up to 100 metres and is known as the “clumsy possum” because of its awkward gait on land.
Ed Hill from the Goongerah Environment Centre said a pre-logging survey should have been completed to check for the species.
“If our survey work was not taken, the [area] would have been logged and all of those greater gliders that we did detect would most likely be dead this week,” he said.
“When the loggers come in and knock their trees over they’re asleep in hollows during the day and they just don’t stand a chance.”
VicForests agreed to suspend logging to allow the Victorian Department of Environment, Land Water and Planning to conduct its own survey to verify the sightings.
VicForests acting general manager of planning David Walsh said the presence of more than 10 greater gliders within a one-kilometre area would trigger a 100-hectare Special Protection Zone.
“This would actually mean we can’t go back and harvest the site in question,” he said.
“It may come at a cost for us but we’re required to manage for environmental values like greater gliders and we would certainly be complying with any direction given to us by the department.”