Australia’s culture of killing native animals

The culture or vilification of kangaroos, as “pests” and their killing has become engrained into our history as a macabre type of environmental “management”. It’s rationalized as a human responsibility to control their numbers, as we have changed the environment so much, due to infrastructure and agriculture, to such as way as to encourage their overpopulation and breeding! They thus are condemned for over-populating and causing mayhem, including environmental damage and threats to other species!

The great Canberra “cull” of kangaroos is being considered again, in our so-called “Bush Capital”. It’s an oxymoron, and it’s using kangaroos as a scapegoat for mismanagement and human-caused environmental destruction.

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(image: a disturbing picture of the kangaroo "cull", 2009)

In July 2015 Canberra activist Chris Klootwijk, 70,  was arrested for blowing a whistle during the ACT Government sanctioned kangaroo cull which hindered the annual shooting operation.  Klootwijk is accused of hindering the cull workers by making loud noises, which included blowing a whistle.

It is alleged that his actions were designed to scare off kangaroos, making it difficult for them to be shot, and halted the cull for about 45 minutes.

Chris faces fines of up to $30,000 and up to two years in jail if found guilty because the ACT government is positioning the blowing of a whistle as a crime.  Whistles are not weapons, like firearms!

Borobi the blue koala has been announced as the official mascot for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

Koala numbers have plummeted by more than two thirds in less than 20 years in south-east Queensland.

One of Australia’s leading koala experts has labelled this week’s unveiling of the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games mascot an embarrassment. The sad irony is that koala numbers have plummeted. They like the symbolism of our native animals, but not the actual animals!

Tweed Heads ecologist Steve Phillips said the use of a koala as the Gold Coast’s mascot was frustrating. “What we’ve seen is that progressive development, and the end result is that decline [of koalas] is proceeding at pace,” he said. High human population growth on the Coast has seen koala numbers plummet, due to urban sprawl. Some critics hit out at what they believed was state government hypocrisy in using a “vulnerable” species as the Games’ emblem but conservationists said it could actually work in favour of helping the threatened animals.

Federal threatened species commissioner Gregory Andrews denied the outlook for koalas was as dire as conservationists believed.

“I would disagree that the future is so bleak. The future is much rosier than it has been for a long time,” he said.  Human population on the Gold Coast.

Over the past five years, the population of the Greater Port Macquarie region has been growing at an average rate of 1.62% per annum – driven largely by Australia’s massive immigration rates.

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(image: http://www.convictcreations.com/animals/dealingwithenvironment.html)

By the mid-nineteenth century as the European settlements grew significantly, a lucrative trade in Koala skins sprung up.  Koala hunters shot, poisoned or snared these animals off their tree perches and bludgeoned them to death and sold their skins for export. The main export markets were the US, Canada and Europe where the Koala’s soft waterproof fur was used to make hats, gloves and fur linings for coats.  (http://panique.com.au/trishansoz/animals/koala.html)

Due to huge public outcry, Koala hunting was banned throughout Australia by 1927.  The importation of Koala skins into the US was also banned in 1927 by President Herbert Hoover while he was Secretary of Commerce.

Today’s threats to koalas are more pedestrian, of deliberate land clearing for urban sprawl.  They are seen as an inevitable victim of our housing-based economy.

Our “environment” department in Victoria, DELWP, plans to “cull” 25,000 kangaroos on public land this year, under permits issued by the Victorian Government.  They plans to kill 8560 red kangaroos and 5170 western grey kangaroos by Parks Victoria in the Murray Sunset National Park, 3000 eastern grey kangaroos by the Commonwealth Department of Defence at Puckapunyal, and 200 eastern grey kangaroos by Gippsland Water at Dustson Downs. DELWP said kangaroo populations were managed to “prevent crashing — or dying in large numbers from starvation ­during droughts — to prevent damage to vulnerable native vegetation and habitat from overgrazing, to allow heavily grazed areas to regenerate or to protect water catchments”.  Rather than magnanimously prevent kangaroos from over-populating and “starving”, its really a thinly mask commercial kill, to keep up the supply of pet food, being trialed in Victoria! (Weekly Times, April 15th, 2016)

The Colonial culture of ignorance, human domination, land clearing, and killing is deeply embedded in Australia’s culture.

gould

In 1863, John Gould was warning of the need for legal protection for native animals: His warnings were visionary, and enlightened.

Short-sighted indeed are the Anglo-Australians, or they would long  ere this have made laws for the preservation of their highly singular,and in many cases noble, indigenous animals; and doubly short-sighted are they for wishing to introduce into Australia the production of other climes. … Let me then urge them to bestir themselves, ere it be too late, to establish laws for the preservation of the large kangaroos, the Emeu and other conspicuous indigenous animals: without some such protection the remnant that is left will soon disappear, to be followed by unavailing regret for the apathy with which they had been previously regarded.

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