Plea to Environment Minister, Tasmania, to end the lethal “culls” of Wombats!
Dear Environment Minister Matthew Groom,
I am writing as the Secretary of the Australian Wildlife Protection Council, an lobby organisation in operation since 1969 as a advocate for native animals.
(image: Minister Matthew Groom)
We are pleading and imploring that you to put a 12-month stay on culling healthy wombats, and then a permanent policy, with the provision that farmers must be required to implement non-lethal mitigation measures such as wombat gates, electric fencing and co-grazing. These native animals, and all of them, are already facing enough challenges as they face human encroachments on their habitats, land clearing, disease and climate change.
Wombats are NOT feral invaders, but genuine native species that must have indigenous rights, and not be treated as diseases or pests!
In February, it was revealed 56 wombat culling permits had been issued over the past year. Wombats are shot to stop them damaging fencing and crops. So property and assets are of more value than native wombats, our precious native species?
Why does this Colonial attitude exist, that Nature must be moved and destroyed for land-holders? Wombats are a protected species, and farmers must cooperate and adapt. The department says that they prioritize non-lethal measures being identified to manage the impacts of wombats on farmland. There should be no cases where lethal methods of control are needed! There must be more community education on the benefits of wombats, and non-lethal methods of management.
Predator scents, however, have been effective in altering behaviours of some herbivores and may offer a non-lethal alternative to culling if they discourage wombats from burrowing in perceived problem areas. The researchers trialled two dingo scents (faeces, urine) over 75 days to determine whether these scents would deter wombats from repopulating collapsed burrows. After 75 days, the five sites treated with dingo scents had minimal activity and no new burrows, while wombats recolonised all control burrows. This research suggests the need for further testing of dingo scents as a tool for dissuading wombats from digging and recolonisation of collapsed burrows.
It is vital landowners are made aware of the immense benefit the wombat provides and to rethink their management around this animal, which could be regarded as a keystone species. Brochures should be made available to land holders, detailing the benefits of this animal to the sustainability and health of their properties.
There’s a clear conflict of interests while the State government funds their protection and at the same time hands out killing permits for wombats!
Why should farmers have the option to cop out of any effort in sharing their land harmoniously with our native species, particularly endemic species such as Wombats?
We wait for a reply, to share with our members and committee.
(image: Wombat in Narawntapu National Park, Tasmania – By PanBK at the English language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5098883)
PS: An outbreak of sarcoptic mange in the Narawntapu National Park has killed all but a handful of wombats in the area since 2009.
It was not known what was causing the outbreak or how far the disease had spread, but it had the potential to devastate wombat numbers statewide. However, our native animals are very stress-prone, and this means more diseases by weakening their immune systems! They don’t need marauding farmers with shot-guns killing them!
Featured image: Ballarat Wildlife Park, Ballarat, Australia, wombats, 2007.JPG