NEWS 1 August 2022 |
In Melbourne’s bulging suburbs high quality endangered grasslands and the habitat of threatened animals are going under the wheels of bulldozers, with many high conservation value grasslands still unprotected around places like Sunshine, Keilor Downs and Cairnlea.
The loss of these grasslands is due to poor planning and lack of proactive care by the Department of Environment Land Water and Planning.
These unprotected grasslands in suburban Melbourne are actively being destroyed, with more expected to be lost in the coming decade.
The vast grassy plains of Victoria once stretched from the western suburbs of Melbourne to the South Australian border. Grasslands are now one of the most threatened habitat types in the state with an estimated 2-5% left, much of that unprotected in small fragments within or adjacent to urban development.
These urban grassland sites contain high conservation values such as fields of Kangaroo Grass, embedded rock (vital wildlife habitat) and are home to the endangered Striped Legless Lizard. The Striped Legless Lizard is listed under both State and Federal Legislation as an endangered, and is only found in grasslands in south-east Australia.
The Legless Lizard has beautiful markings along the length of their bodies and beautiful pale grey to brown colouration. They evolved to fill the snake “niche” by becoming legless, prior to the appearance of snakes in Australia, and are closely related to geckos.
An amazing evolutionary feat, Striped Legless Lizards are threatened by poor surveying methods on development sites, not detecting animals due to the wrong timing of surveys. This could result in thousands of these beautiful animals crushed under the wheels of bulldozers in their grassland home, when they should be protected due to their precarious future.
Our elected representaives must do all they can to protect these living museums and wildflower meadows.