Australia destroys irreplaceable French plants in quarantine mishap

Source: Xinhua| 2017-05-09 21:41:13|Editor: xuxin
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SYDNEY, May 9 (Xinhua) -- Irreplaceable and rare plant specimens dating back to the 1800s have been destroyed by Queensland State Biosecurity officials in Australia because of insufficient paperwork.

The collection of flowering plants were sent by France's Natural History Museum in Paris to Queensland's herbarium in Brisbane to help Aussie flora researchers.

But instead of arriving at their assigned destination, the specimens were incinerated.

According to a spokesman from the Queensland Department of Agriculture, the body has established a review into its current procedures.

"The department concedes that unintentionally proceeding with destruction of the specimens was premature," the spokesman told Fairfax Media.

"But it does highlight the importance of the shared responsibility of Australia's biosecurity system, and the need for adherence to import conditions."

As a result, the furious French institute is set to ban all loans to Australian facilities.

Only weeks ago, New Zealand's national herbaria announced a ban on sharing its materials with Australia after a collection of lichen specimens were destroyed on their way to Australia's National Herbarium in Canberra.

"We rely on sharing specimens from all over the world to be able to do our science," chair of the Council of Australasian Herbaria, Michelle Waycott told the Australian Broadcasting corporation.

"So it may have a major impact on our ability to do our research."

"The fact that it happened twice in the space of a couple of weeks and that they were two separate ports, two separate entry points has us very concerned."