Category Archives: State-by-State

ACT sticking to annual slaughter of kangaroos (?) despite bushfire inferno, victims

ACT-annual-slaughter-Feb2020

Below is a media statement from Animal Protectors Alliance commenting on the ACT government plans to cement its annual shooting of grey kangaroos on city reserves (government put out a tender for a shooter and helper for the next five years). This shameful ritual slaughter of adults, involving also bashing of in-pouch joeys and slow death of still-dependent joeys would be going into its 11th year. The slaughter of the national icon looks set to continue, unless the community convinces the ACT government to stop this barbaric and senseless practice. Whether you are a citizen of Australia or an international visitor, let the ACT government know what you think about that.

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AS FIRES RAGE around the ACT, uncontrolled and unlikely to be fully extinguished for months, kangaroos are fleeing into the ACT, many dying of their wounds, or on our roads, or on our barbed wire fences.

The ACT was once a refuge for kangaroos fleeing shooting in surrounding NSW. Now it is a deadly sink where thousands of these animals are slaughtered every year.

The government defends the annual slaughter by claiming that shooters are required to adhere to a Code of Practice.

Spokesperson for APA (Animal Protectors Alliance), Robyn Soxsmith described this claim as “unforgivable hypocrisy”.

Former member (for nearly 18 years) of the ACT government’s own Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (AWAC), Frankie Seymour, explains that the entire purpose of the Code of Practice is to exempt from prosecution acts of cruelty that would otherwise be offences under the ACT’s own Animal Welfare Act.

Ms Seymour asserts, “The ACT government had the option of developing a humane code of practice: one that prohibited killing of mothers with dependent young, bludgeoning joeys to death or orphaning them to starvation, prohibited herding and driving kangaroos into a state of fatal myopathy. They could have had a code that recognised the ACT as the ‘Bush Capital’, recognised Canberra’s unique role in providing a refuge from the unfettered carnage underway in NSW. Instead they joined the other states in betraying our native animals for all the worst possible reasons.

“I believe the killing serves no other purpose than to garner votes and agistment fees for cattle grazing from farmers, and high rents and rates from developers. It has nothing to do with protecting the environment,” Ms Seymour concludes.

Robyn Soxsmith continues. “The ACT government claims its slaughter of kangaroos is science-based and environmentally beneficial. But when you look into the sources they quote in the references section of their Kangaroo Management Plan, you discover that there is no independent science that justifies the annual massacre.

“Even the CSIRO found that three kangaroos per hectare is better for the environment than none, and no worse than one or two. Yet the government’s ‘calculator’ of how many to kill is based on the totally imaginary and arbitrary premise that more than one kangaroos per hectare is too many. In deference to this science-free calculator, the government religiously kills any kangaroos in excess of one per hectare.”

APA is calling on the ACT government to assure the people of Canberra that, in view of the fires and the ACT’s status as a refuge for kangaroos who have miraculously escaped into the ACT, there will be no government slaughter of kangaroos this year.

> The ACT Conservation Minister for the Environment and Heritage; and the Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability contact details are available on pg3 of this link. 

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GREAT NEWS — we did it!

save-Mt-Lofty-petition

UPDATE: Toowoomba koala habitat Mt Lofty

A big hello to all our wonderful supporters!

Mt-Lofty-reprieve-Feb2020Today we woke up to this headline on the front cover of our local paper: DHA Ditches Mt. Lofty Plan. 

342 houses will no longer be built on this precious land. There is still some way to go on this, as all this really means is that the original plan has been withdrawn. It remains to be seen what will emerge in its place. However, it’s a win and we are celebrating (we like to think the koalas are too, in their own secret way).

This petition shone a light onto our little neck of the woods, onto our koalas, onto our beautiful forested land with its creeks and waterfall, with its mists and endless views. We could NOT have done this without all the people, from all around our bruised planet, who cared enough to support us.

Let’s take strength from this and keep on fighting. Lets show the greedy, the thoughtless, the uncaring and powerful that we mean business. We fight. We don’t stop.

THANK YOU!

— The Save Mt. Lofty Inc Team, 21 February 2020


Petition to local council, ask state and federal officials to say NO.

Mount Lofty is a very special place, right on the edge of the Toowoomba Escarpment. It’s a place of forests, permanent springs and Toowoomba’s only waterfall.

We, the Mt. Lofty community, see and hear koalas here all the time. Malcolm and Belle have a special place in our hearts because they’re breeding right now. We want to see little baby koalas here. Australia needs that to happen very, very badly.

It’s not just koalas either. There are lots of other animals here too, such as echidnas, wallabies, kangaroos, goannas, small mammals, bats, reptiles and frogs. The bird life is amazing.

But that’s about to change.

This land has escaped the developers only because it’s an ex-Rifle Range and has been owned by the Department of Defence for over 100 years.

But now our Federal government wants to clear all the land that’s flat enough to build on, including 38 hectares (that’s 76 football fields) of Critical Koala Habitat. They’ll bulldoze the forest and cram the bare dirt with 342 houses and villas, on blocks down to 300m2.

Few of these houses are for the Defence force. An independent consultant says most of them will go to investors and second home-owners.

They even want their own special planning code so they can get away with it.

It’s not too late though!

Right now, the Toowoomba Regional Councillors have this application sitting on their desks. They have the environmental grounds in the planning code to reject this development and save the koalas, and all the animals, on this land.

The community has been fighting this for over two years now. Time is running out — the decision could come any time within the next few months.

Please tell the people doing this that we just cannot keep on this way. We have lost over a billion animals in the fires. Koalas are slow and many of them were burned to death.

We cannot afford to lose more animals, especially when this land was never paid for and doesn’t have to be destroyed for one-off financial gain.


MORE INFORMATION; PETITION HERE

 

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Three days at a border fireground (Vic, NSW)

corryong-fire-grounds

AWPC committee member and long-time wildlife rescuer Chris Lehmann spent three days on the post-fire ground between between Victoria and NSW around Albury and Corryong in early February.  Here is his first hand initial report and also a youtube clip from that journey.

The new AWPC committee supports all community efforts to help bring emergency assistance, including food and water drops, to fire survivors as well as to areas that are so dry that animals have lost their natural sustenance (and that might burn next!)

State governments in Victoria and NSW have yet to take leadership or action on helping the wildlife survivors bar a few well-publiced food drops to endangered wallabies.

Landholders and the wider community, including volunteers from overseas are leading the way with generosity and dedication.


My first expression of what I saw at Corryong:

Longing for life

We spent 3 days in the fire grounds of Corryong, some 30 days after Corryong was evacuated because of the fire storms that had destroyed Woormargama, Burrowa, Pine, and Mittamatite Forests plus much of the farmland and many homes around.

We were searching for life.

Mt Mittamatite is a local mountain forest covering about 100 square kms. There might have been 100,000+ furred and feathered animals living on just Mt Mittamatite. Now, 30 days later, as a result of daily searches (over the last few weeks) well into the early hours of the morning, a local wildlife carer estimates there is 50–100 animals surviving there.

He has identified the very few patches of forest that have enough cover and dregs of food for survival and has committed to providing water and food for those few survivors. Those 50–100 kangaroos, wallabies and wombats will be the genesis of the recovery of the mountain.

Life is there, we found it — but the lack of water and good food is too real.

We need to support these animals for a few months. On Tuesday we [sent] 30–40 bags of carrots up to Bellaboo Wildlife Shelter who will lead the water station and food drop effort.

 


A 2nd report from the Corryong Fire Grounds, February 2020.

(Click above text to link to the written post on the Kangaloola Wildlife Shelter Inc. Facebook page.)

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BREAKING NEWS: Vic Govt lifts moratorium

AS THE BUSHFIRES continue to kill kangaroos, The Victorian State Government has lifted their emergency moratorium of the commercial killing of kangaroos.

No wildlife assessment has been completed.
The number of surviving kangaroos is unknown.

Write directly to the Victorian Premier Daniel Andres today to voice your concerns
daniel.andrews@parliament.vic.gov.au
Or phone directly (03) 9651 5000

#ShameAustralia
#KangaroosAlive
#AnimalWelfare

 

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Want to help fire-affected wildlife? Regional NSW network set-up.

water-feed-wildlife-feb2020

MILLIONS OF NATIVE animals have been killed and survivors deprived of food, shelter and water thanks to the unprecedented bushfires sweeping the country, on the back of extensive drought. The drought is predicted to continue as well as the fires for some time.

In our own backyard, Wildcare (Queanbeyan, Bungendore, and nearby rural areas) and the Native Animal Rescue Group NARG (Braidwood area), along with individual property owners, are ramping up efforts to provide food, water, and in some cases shelter. You can help. See how, below.

The North Black Range bushfire, between Bungendore and Braidwood, is the nearest fire arena. Property owners on the periphery of the burnt-out area are seeing and reporting animals searching for food, water and shelter. Affected animals are turning up in unusual places.

Food and shelter stations being set up

Wildcare and NARG volunteers, with the help of the community, have started to deliver essential food — grass, hay, pellets, bird seed — and other food, such as fruit and native tree and shrub cuttings. Food stations are positioned in strategic locations. It’s reported to be working — with animals coming in to feed. Watering points have also been set up.

Nesting boxes for possums and gliders have started to be erected to provide shelter. Property owners and members of the public have been extremely helpful in maintaining the food and water supply and for the cash donations needed to support this program. More needs to be done.

Fire and drought-affected property owners who need assistance with the cost of helping can make use of the Food4Wildlife scheme. Food (pellets for macropods or possums and bird seed) can be picked up from one of four collection points in Bungendore and Braidwood.

Visit wildcare.com.au for specific locations. For example, in Bungendore there are two bins outside Bungendore Produce on Gibraltar Street for that purpose.

Hay is also available to support grass-eating animals (contact haydrop@wildcare.com.au).

Wildcare thanks the many businesses who have donated food and material to support this effort, which will continue for many months until the native habitat recovers.

Don’t forget the water

With soaring temperatures, creeks and dams are drying out, so providing a water source for native animals is vital, including in our own drought-affected areas.

Put out bowls and troughs, or similar large containers, in shady locations for our native friends and keep the birdbaths topped up. Place stones and branches in the container to allow access and exit by insects and smaller animals.

CAPTION: Our main picture shows a friend of  The District Bulletin in Canberra, topping up water containers on Black Mountain, while guarding against the world’s most toxic hot air … the impact of the bushfires and government climate policy.  ON RIGHT: RFS-rescued possum receiving treatment from Wildcare. Images supplied.

Cash donations to Wildcare or NARG are vital for the ongoing demand to resupply food and buy materials that support affected animals.

If people wish to donate, visit wildcare.com.au and find out the ways that this can be done. Please give whatever you can to help save the surviving wildlife from the North Black Range bushfire. Call Wildcare on 6299 1966, or NARG on 4846 1900, for further advice.

Humane Society International joins the helping hands

Working particularly with wildlife carers on private property, Humane Society International (HSI) has opened an appeal for donations and an emergency hotline for carers needing assistance.

Wildlife carers in need can call 1800 333 737.

HSI has already assisted with delivering emergency water supplies and supplementary feed for rescued wombats, kangaroos and flying-foxes.

HSI is also funding the building of additional rehabilitation enclosures for animals like koalas to ease the pressure on carers who are inundated with animals.

Many of HSI-supported Wildlife Land Trust members are wildlife carers, and many have lost everything they worked so hard to build. The organisation is pledging it will be there for the long haul.

For the many people who want to help animals in areas surrounding the fires, a simple start is to put out shallow bowls of fresh water. Fruits and vegetables can also be attached to trees to help flying-foxes, birds and possums, but some foods such as bread can be harmful to wildlife and should be avoided.

To contribute to the fund, visit: www.hsi.org.au/bushfire

Two other wildlife-friendly and helping organisations we have heard of that take donations to help surviving wildlife in Victoria, NSW and Queensland are:

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Cobargo Wildlife Sanctuary (NSW, Vic)

cobargo-wildlife-sanc-jan2020

We join Sara Tilling and Gary Henderson once more, this time Sara talks about grief and loss and rebuilding the future from the caravan that is to be their temporary home. There is an impassioned thank you for the many of you from around the world that have given the support and kindness that will make a new future possible.

“Like us, all living creatures don’t want to die and will fight to survive. Sometimes despite all odds we hang in there, not yet ready to leave for many reasons. Maybe just because you find someone that is prepared to sit with you, love you and give it their all to help you. To give you the strength to fight.”
— Sara Tilling

The money donated to the Cobargo Wildlife Sanctuary will be spent on rebuilding the wildlife care and rehabilitation infrastructure and equipment, compounds, sheds and the like. Money will also be spent on revegetating the property with the native plant species that will help to give the animals who come to live at the sanctuary in the future, the very best chance of a happy and successful life. There is a vast amount of work to be done.

You can assist in this work by donating HERE.

NOTE: Why it is critically important to donate to people and organisations working on the front line of wildlife rescue and rehabilitation in Australia.

Sara mentions the attitudes of governments in Australia to wildlife and conservation. What has occurred over the last few days is telling. Some good, some very bad.

The Commonwealth Government of Australia (Canberra) has pledged $50 million to assist wildlife in the firegrounds across this vast continent. The states most impacted at this time are New South Wales (Cobargo), Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia and Queensland. The $50 million in funding will be split between an expert advisory panel and community groups and Koalas will be a focus for restoration efforts, with as much as 30 per cent of Koala habitat destroyed. We shall see what happens.

In New South Wales, where some 8.5 million hectares have been destroyed and whose current government’s attitudes to wildlife conservation are nothing less than egregious appear to be planning on businesses as usual with no changes to lax wildlife laws or the level of commercial or other permits being issued. “DPIE will be monitoring fire and harvesting activity within the commercial management zones and will be engaging with commercial harvesters and animal dealers that may operate within the affected zones,” the spokesperson said. “Our goal is to ensure that Kangaroo populations remain ecologically sustainable.”

In Victoria, the Victorian Government, although details and how these are to be enforced are vague, has suspended its relatively new and doomed Kangaroo Pet Food Industry. The commercial wildlife industry in Victoria is doomed because much of the populations of species being exploited are now gone because of the large numbers of animals killed in the last few years. As far as I can tell the Victorian Government has no plans to put a stop to the vast scale culling of wildlife it claims to be a nuisance or overabundant. In Victoria in the ten-year period 2009-2018 inclusive a total of 32,147 of these ATCW permits (not commercial) were issued for Australian species covering 1,513,605 animals across 82 native species including for 26,507 Wombats, in addition Wombats are unprotected in much of the state and killing them does not require a permit. This Government describes Koalas as overabundant (nonsense).

While not formally announced, the Victorian Government (its Ministers) have also flagged their intention to proceed with this year’s Duck shooting season despite the devastating impact on waterbird populations in Australia from heat events, long term and severe drought and now the horrific fires. South Australia has already announced that despite the devastating fires it will proceed with its Duck shooting season.

Too little too late

An area not that much smaller than Greece, has been destroyed in Australia over the last few weeks and because the firegrounds are so vast, the wildlife that does survive is in immediate danger of starvation and dehydration, all food has gone, and water sources, if they remain, are contaminated. The Australian Veterinary Association is desperately calling on the Victorian Government to airdrop food into inaccessible, bushfire-affected land in Victoria to save starving wildlife.

“Victorian Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said the Government was taking expert advice to get the best outcome for native wildlife and biodiversity. “We’re considering supplementary feeding for threatened species in targeted areas if and when it’s appropriate and safe to do so,” she said.

As President of the Australian Wildlife Protection Council I have called on the government to stop all wildlife killing activities and to begin food drops with immediate effect. Towards the end of 2019 it looked to me, with all the disasters and potential disasters that we describe here, that the Victorian Government were ‘culling’ wildlife in state and national parks in Victoria. The response I received beyond the usual spin was as follows:

“If you require any more detailed information at this stage, we encourage you to submit your query through our Freedom of Information Process”.

Something to hide perhaps?

Australia’s ABC report that “Animals Australia director Lyn White said some species in fire-affected areas were critically endangered such as the mountain pygmy-possum and brush-tailed rock-wallaby found in Gippsland. The charity offered $100,000 to the Victorian Government last week to help purchase food, but said they have not received a response to the offer”.

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