Wildlife carers quitting after 30 years due to DELWP’s hostility towards kangaroos
Kangaroos nursed back to health after a planned fire escalated out of control now face a cull on the orders of the same department that ordered the burn. The very same department, DELWP, responsible for the care of wildlife, actually turned tail and permitted a “cull” of kangaroos, despite being tirelessly and lovingly nursed back to health by wildlife carers!
After a planned burn that started the Lancefield fire, they approved a six-month culling permit for the owner of a property that borders the shelter – because of “damage caused by the kangaroos to the land”, where he runs sheep, and fences. Surely more “damage” would be done by sheep than kangaroos? However, the latter animals are economic assets, whereas kangaroos only have economic value when dead – for the pet meat trade!
The Authority to Control Wildlife permit application was approved, thanks to the farmer citing his desire to repasturise the land. So, he can’t live harmoniously with native animals than have a minimal impact on grasslands? This farmer got the go ahead to kill kangaroos on his property, which neighbours the Macedon Ranges (Victoria) Pastoria East Wildlife Shelter. “All of the wild kangaroos here have been through that fire, they’ve all been impacted by it. They’ve lost habitat and food, they’ve been traumatised,” owner Christine Litchfield said.
Wildlife carers Ms Litchfield and Mr Ward say they are bemused by the department’s “heartbreaking” decision, considering DELWP formerly praised the work of the pair and wanted photos for an internal magazine!
“… Keep in mind we’re in a conservation zone, we are up against a large crown land forest. The idea that you’re going to kill kangaroos to stop this problem is unlikely to work completely,” Marcus Ward said. What part of “conservation” do DELWP not understand? What sort of Department, except an Orwellian one, would endorse the care and protection of wildlife – injured by their own “controlled burn” that got out of control – and also permit their “cull”?
Wildlife carers say they cannot continue to nurse injured kangaroos back to health only to risk having them shot by a neighbouring farmer once they are released. These amazing people spend their own time and money on compassion and care for injured animals, only to have them lethally “managed”! Marcus Ward, owner of the Pastoria East Wild Life Shelter, says he will have to close his doors after 30 years.
Under such a contradictory and twisted State government Department, presumably meant to be responsible for our wildlife, administer the Wildlife Act 1975, but at the same time approve of “culls” and the kangaroo meat industry in Victoria! They can’t be the carers, conservationists and the killers at the same time – they are deeply embedded in conflicts of interests.
The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) decided not to prosecute the neighbouring property owner for animal cruelty, after kangaroos were shot in the body and left to bleed to death. So, what and when do they actually do to protect wildlife in Victoria?
“That won’t change until we’re confident the culling won’t proceed.” Without Macedon Ranges’ Pastoria East Wildlife Shelter, Mr Ward said rescuers had few local options for shelters to take kangaroos.
“The shelter in Kilmore is overloaded from the area, and the one in Hepburn that we rely on a lot closed their doors to any new animals last week,” he said.
Native animals, especially kangaroos, are enemies of Victoria, and land-holders – apparently. The facade that DELWP have any care of responsibility for native animals is becoming thinner and they are being exposed as more interested in commercial kangaroo meat – and cleansing the State of our iconic native animals – in the name of “progress” and profits!