Leonardo DiCaprio Puts Swift Parrot Conservation Into Global Spotlight

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‘Leonardo DiCaprio has put Tasmania on the map big time, and the plight of the swift parrot is now well and truly global,” former Greens leader said.

Top wildlife conservationists praised Leonardo DiCaprio’s recent support to halt logging and protect the critically endangered swift parrot in Tasmania, Australia, calling his backing crucial for strengthening conservation efforts.

The famous Hollywood actor told his 62 million Instagram followers worldwide about efforts to protect the bird, stressing its critical situation with only 750 remaining in the state of Tasmania.

In his post, he celebrated a recent Supreme Court decision to halt forestry activities south of Hobart, which is reportedly home to the rare parrot.

The Bob Brown Foundation, which asked the Supreme Court to stop logging in swift parrot habitat, highlighted how the celebrity’s post significantly raised Tasmania’s profile.

“Leonardo DiCaprio has put Tasmania on the map big time, and the plight of the swift parrot is now well and truly global,” environmentalist and former Greens leader Bob Brown said.

“We are delighted to see Leonardo’s full endorsement of our campaign to end native forest logging and save the critically endangered swift parrots.”

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He invited the star to Tasmania to experience the island’s forests and wildlife firsthand.

Mr. DiCaprio stated in his post that a Bob Brown Foundation report showed significant forest destruction despite the IUCN Red List’s recommendation to stop logging in native forests where these parrots nest.

“The only way to protect the swift parrot and hundreds of other threatened Australian forest species is to end native logging across Australia and Tasmania.”

Further, he said the Australian government has pledged to prevent any new extinctions.

“Conservationists continue to encourage them to uphold their zero extinction commitment,” he added.

Mr. DiCaprio’s post received mixed feedback, with many thanking him and others expressing scepticism.

“Maybe you can fly in your private jet to Tassie and protest?” one person commented.

Another person called for more support, urging federal Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek to join the cause.

“We need the Australian government and Tanya Plibersek to get on board,” they said.

Meanwhile, the Tasmanian Greens appreciated Mr. DiCaprio’s endorsement of parrot habitat protection but also urged politicians to join the fight.

“If Hollywood stars get it, why won’t Liberal and Labor politicians?” they said.

“The Liberals can lock protestors up or lock them out of forests, but their efforts are in vain. The majority of Tasmanians want to see native forests protected, they want the swift parrot to survive, and they want a safer climate. That means ending native forest logging.”

The Greens expect more voices worldwide to speak out about ensuring the future of the iconic species.

“As international attention on the plight of the swift parrot grows, more people are going to see the truth of the destruction that still happens in Tasmanian forests.”

Plibersek Joins in Supporting Swift Parrot Recovery

Despite this, Ms. Plibersek has joined the ranks of prominent figures supporting the recovery of the swift parrot.

She recently announced a new federal recovery plan to help the parrot survive in the long term.

She noted it aimed to direct efforts to enhance breeding habitats in Tasmania and decrease the population of sugar gliders, a major predator.

“It will help protect them from predators, support their habitats, and promote their future breeding,” she said.

“I’m determined to give our threatened species a better chance and a brighter future.”

The felled tree in which Bob Brown argued was a nesting site for the swift parrot. (Courtesy of Bob Brown Foundation)
The felled tree in which Bob Brown argued was a nesting site for the swift parrot. (Courtesy of Bob Brown Foundation)

As one of only two migratory parrot species globally, swift parrots breed in Tasmania during the warmer months and migrate to the mainland across Bass Strait in winter.

Jenny Weber, recipient of the Bob Brown Foundation’s Environmentalist of the Year award, noted the foundation is currently at the forefront in Tasmania’s swift parrot breeding habitat, blocking forests scheduled for logging.

“Elsewhere in Tasmania, we have secured an interim injunction on logging in breeding habitat that was happening at the end of last year while the parrots were in the same forests,” she said.

“Across the critically endangered parrot’s breeding habitat, there are many forests threatened by logging when they need to be in secure conservation reserves now.”

The swift parrot has been critically endangered since 2016.

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