Target: The Hon. Greg Hunt MP, Australian Minister for the Environment
Goal: Advance greater protections for Australia’s remaining rainforests to help save the musky rat-kangaroo from extinction
Some 20 million years ago the Earth was home to several species of tiny marsupials–animals whose young continue to develop in their mothers’ specialized pouches. Australia hosts some of the most famous marsupials still alive today such as the koala and duck-billed platypus. The world’s smallest kangaroo species, the musky rat-kangaroo, is also found in Australia. Its tropical rainforest habitat is under constant threat from development and climate change, and a new study suggests the animals may not be able to adapt in order to survive.
The little musky-rat kangaroo plays a crucial role in the rainforests’ survival as well. Only one other type of animal–flightless birds known as cassowaries–helps to disperse fruit seeds in these rainforests. Kenny Travouillon, a paleontologist at The University of Queensland’s School of Earth Sciences who lead the recent study, has spoken out about the need for increased monitoring and protections for both the tiny kangaroo and its rainforest home. “We need to carefully protect [the musky rat-kangaroo's] habitat, because it is too specialized to be relocated elsewhere and is an important contributor to its environment,” according to Travouillon.
Climate change continues to be the defining issue facing the world today. The plight of the musky-rat kangaroo demonstrates the interconnectedness of all life and the need for preservation of complex habitats like Australia’s tropical rainforests. Call on the country’s Minister for the Environment to enact strict limits to the residential and industrial development of the remaining rainforest.
Dear Minister Hunt,
Australia’s rainforests, like the Daintree World Heritage Area, are home to a staggering diversity of plants and animals. Among them is the tiny musky rat-kangaroo which plays a crucial role in dispersing seeds throughout its habitat. Scientists from the University of Queensland and The University of New South Wales recently released a study to show how climate change threatens this sensitive species. Combined with the threat of encroaching development into areas like Daintree, things aren’t looking good for the world’s smallest kangaroo.
While some of Australia’s tropical rainforests are protected large portions are not. Fragmentation and loss of habitat, increased numbers of feral animals and other challenges pose a real risk to the musky rat-kangaroo and the forests they call home. Without stricter limits on development your country’s magnificent rainforests will continue to lose diversity and resilience to climate change.
I urge you to enact stronger protections for all your country’s remaining tropical rainforests. Cease development of areas within and bordering protected lands like Daintree. Your efforts can not only help save the musky-rat kangaroo but would also help preserve these unique forests and all the life that depends on them.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: The Rambling Man via Wikimedia Commons