Category Archives: Features

Victorian government claims impossible kangaroo numbers, encourages people to eat national emblem

Kangaroo-signage-Vict-road-cr-Jodie-Johnson

Today, 28 January 2021, the Victorian Government publicly announced the details of its amplification of its commercial trade in wildlife activities which impacts the remaining Eastern and Western Grey Kangaroo populations in Victoria — information it had previously leaked to shooters on Christmas Eve 2020.

The Kangaroo’s problem is that they are something for nothing

So today we had the usual spin — ‘Minister for Agriculture Mary-Anne Thomas today announced the 2021 quota allocation for the Kangaroo Harvesting Program — which has risen due to a notable increase in the estimated statewide Kangaroo population in the last three years’.

As claimed by this Minister, it is entirely impossible that ‘there has been a notable increase in the estimated statewide kangaroo population’. The claim from the government is that ‘The 2020 survey estimates the current kangaroo population at almost 2 million across Victoria — up almost 40 percent compared to 2018. To reduce waste and boost economic opportunities, the Labor Government will allow the extra meat to be made available for human consumption — not just for pet food as is currently the case — and look for opportunities to export the skins’.

I won’t quote anymore of this nonsense, which is impart also contradictory, as you will have heard it all before. Many of the claims are completely false.

Why has there been such a significant rise in Kangaroo populations in Victoria since 2018?

The answer is there has not been an increase, the opposite has occurred. There has been a significant decline in the populations of the two species being targeted in Victoria. This is because of:

• Intensive shooting of these animals in Victoria since 2014 when the commercial trade commenced in trial form, this also takes out the next generation of Kangaroos as the joeys are also killed;

• Catastrophic climate conditions including fires which are likely to have accounted for 200,000 (Wallabies not included in this number) Kangaroos in Victoria during last summer’s fires;

• Vastly overstated Kangaroo populations from previous surveys. The way the maths is likely to work here is that the smaller the Kangaroo populations when the mass killing commences, the faster the animal vanishes, populations of these animals have been relatively small in Victoria when compared to other places; and

• Impossible reproductive rates are being claimed.

So what is actually happening is that, as populations decline, this is happening quickly, the population estimates and associated quotas go up, so the population declines even faster.

So what the Victorian Government has done is trapped itself in its own spin and falsehoods.

The way this works is that they have now encouraged shooters (currently 80 or so in Victoria) to shoot a very small number of animals, given what is actually required to make this viable for so many people. So they have no choice but to shift up the value chain (if you can call it that) by introducing human consumption, then boosting population numbers to keep the quotas up.

The Minister responsible for this shambles, they should have stopped it in its tracks, needs to explain how and why the population grew by a staggering amount given what I have said previously. So it looks very much as if they changed their methodology yet again to boost the numbers. So once again the only population explosion is on a spreadsheet on someone’s laptop in a government office.

We did not think they would have had the nerve to push the number up so high — we clearly underestimated their capacity for wrong doing. We have asked for the survey and quota report(s) for 2021 but not had a response so far.

As we have said a thousand times, there is a great deal of propaganda here, and a lot of myths, the one that needs busting today, is the claim that the increase quotas also reduces the number of Kangaroos competing with livestock. A few points here:

• The grass this year in many places is plentiful — often waist high, so there is more than enough for everyone and what remains looks very much like a fire hazard;

• Some of the introduced plants and grasses are toxic for Kangaroos and will make them extremely ill or even kill them; and

• The Victorian Kangaroo surveys will show that there are very few Kangaroos associated with farmland. Many of the remaining Kangaroo populations will be on public land, National and State Parks, reserves and so on, or on private properties where the owners have protected the wildlife they have chosen to live with, as we did for so many years before our conservation property in Victoria was destroyed.

There is also a major problem looming for wildlife shelters and those rehabilitating wildlife, these properties typically have a great deal of wildlife, including Kangaroos, associated with them.

Although I have raised, and now in some detail, the human rights abuses that have and are now more likely to occur in Victoria given what is being done here, which engulf those individuals who choose to live peacefully in regional Victoria along with their wildlife, the senior politicians within the Victorian Government have chosen to entirely ignore the high risk of abuse and endangerment. And we are talking about high-powered rifles being used close to houses, not the shotguns used so commonly to kill birdlife on Victoria’s Ramsar sites.

Elephant conservation and understanding of our animal friends, wildlife tourism

baby-elephants-NationalParkNairobi_cr-SusanCruttenden

WITH LITTLE TO cheer about on the Australian native animal conservation front, it was encouraging to hear that as a member of the International Convention opposing Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna, our representative, [federal environment minister] Sussan Ley joined Australia to the list of countries agreeing to ban the import of ivory.

Unfortunately, not all countries have agreed to this ban and thousands of elephants are still being killed every year for their tusks. China hasn’t signed and it is the biggest customer.

I visited a National Park in Nairobi, Kenya (image above) where an elephant nursery exists to foster baby elephants which have lost their mothers from poaching, snaring, or trapping as part of the illegal but on-going trade in ivory tusks, or as a result of natural hazards such as falling down wells or being swept away while crossing flooded rivers.

It was a thrill to witness a long line of half-grown, rescued  elephants  trumpeting with happy anticipation as they trooped in to the tourist area to be fed enormous bottles of milk before rolling in the dirt and following their keepers back to the bush, where they spend a part of each day before returning to their rooms.

”Baby elephants are sensitive, intelligent creatures that grow up in the care and protection of the herd.” Australian wildlife carers observed the same about orphaned natives, like kangaroo joeys.

The elephant nursery is the public face of the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (SWT) founded by Dame Daphne Sheldrick in 1977 in memory of her husband David Sheldrick, first warden of Tsavo National Park, and a dedicated conservationist. Daphne (pictured) was an English girl who grew up as a child in the highlands of Kenya with a bevy of animal pets to care for. Her love for animals led to a passion for elephants threatened with extinction in the wild.

Respect and nature’s balance 

In one of her books Daphne wrote: “Animals are more complex, and in many ways more sophisticated than us. They are more perfect because they remain within Nature’s perfect symmetry just as Nature intended. They should all be respected and revered, but perhaps more none more so than the elephant, the world’s most emotionally human land mammal.”

Baby elephants are sensitive, intelligent creatures that grow up in the care and protection of the herd. When Daphne adopted orphaned babies she learnt from hard experience that they needed lots of attention and a special diet of no-fat cow’s milk and coconut oil in order to survive.

This requirement along with their need for human company makes it necessary for them to be fed every three hours for 24 hours with gradual weaning from the bottle over a fairly lengthy period of time. Like human babies elephant babies need warmth, security, and company. They sleep under blankets next to their keepers for comfort when they’ve been abandoned or injured.

The ties that bind

Kenyan keepers at the nursery are required to move from one orphaned elephant to another in order for them not to form a bond so close that it will inhibit the elephant’s later acceptance by the herd and result in a reduced chance of survival in the wild.

In order to achieve successful rehabilitation and give young elephants a greater chance to achieve independence, a half-way house — where they are free to come and go — has been established in a different area of the park. As one keeper said emphatically: “These elephant babies are kept, not for zoos or circuses, but to be released back into their natural habitat!”

Even so there are times when elephant attachments are so strong that ex-orphans successfully assimilated with wild ones in their natural habitat are still known to return to the stockades. They are likely to do this for help when injured, or alarmed, or even just to show off new-born calves [similar situational returns have been noted for Australian macropods]. As Daphne said in one of her many public lectures in America and London, “elephants never forget”.

As knowledge of the success of Mama Elephant’s nursery grew locally, the Wildlife Fund was able to expand its fundraising, and conservation education activities overseas with lectures, books, and a documentary film Born to be Wild. Daphne Sheldrick was made a Dame of the British Empire by the British queen; and honoured by the Kenyan government and the United Nations for her life work in animal conservation.

Inspiring work goes on

The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, even after the death of its founder in 2018, still carries out all aspects of its animal rescue and rehabilitation work. Including alerting people to the alarming rate of animal extinction, and the importance of preserving natural habitats. Best known for its pioneering Orphans Project, the SWT working in conjunction with the Kenya Wildlife Service currently funds and operates 14 de-snaring teams, as well as supporting the work of rangers, financing mobile veterinary units and operating 14 surveillance planes in order to combat elephant and rhino poaching.

In the words of David Attenborough, in his book A Life on our Planet: “Nature is far from unlimited. The wild is finite. It needs protecting.”

We are indebted to Daphne Sheldrick and conservationists like her who devote their lives to the protection of precious wildlife.

By Susan Cruttenden, Dalmeny, NSW
Images Author supplied.

 

GREAT NEWS! German supermarkets drop Kangaroo meat

kangaroo-generic-VladislavJirousek-dreamstime

German retailers Kaufland, Real, Lidl, and V-Markt and pet-food manufacturer BEWITAL have agreed to stop selling kangaroo-meat products. The news comes after a joint letter signed by several organisations, including PETA* Germany, informed them about the cruelty inherent in kangaroo hunting in Australia.

Cruel Slaughter

In Australia, more than 1.5 million kangaroos are shot every year to make pet food, steaks, and leather products. Hunters shine blinding lights and fire rifles at dusk when kangaroos are grazing peacefully. Then, the injured animals are decapitated or hit sharply on the head before their flesh is butchered and their skin is torn off so it can be exported and made into accessories often labelled as k-leather.

Following graphic photos of charred kangaroos and reports that huge swathes of their habitat were decimated by recent bushfires in Australia, putting them under ever-increasing pressure, more and more people are demanding an end to the government-sanctioned slaughter. We’re delighted that these German supermarkets have made the right decision to end their involvement in this barbaric killing.

… CONTINUE READING
By PETA (*People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), 19 Nov 2020.

IMAGE: Vladislav Jirousek, Dreamstime.

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Parra Waripa — Red Kangaroo Song

PARRA WARIPA - Red Kangaroo Song

We are thrilled at the success of this song. We couldn’t be happier with our collaboration with David Bridie (seven-time ARIA award-winning songwriter and composer) and Jida Gulpilil proud multi-clan man from Dja Dja Wurrung and Wamba Wamba. PARRA WARIPA is the title track to KANGAROO A Love-Hate Story.

“All over the world audiences are stunned by the beauty of the music and Wemba Wemba language.”
— Kate McIntyre Clere. Co-director of KANGAROO.

 

Composed by David Bridie, Performed by Jida Gulpilil.

PARRA WARIPA (Red Kangaroo) is sung in the Wemba Wemba language, spoken by the Wamba Wamba and Perrepa Perrepa people from the Riverina Region of New South Wales. We are honoured that Parra Waripa has reached #1 on the AMRAP (Australian Music Radio Airplay Project) charts this NAIDOC week.

If you haven’t listened, danced to and shared the song, you better get to it.

Enjoy!!

— The Kangaroo Team

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Kangaroos are only good for …

kangaroo-shoes-dog-food-nov2020awpc

“Kangaroos are only good for dog food and soccer boots; well that seems to be the policy of various Australian State Governments”, Mr Chris Lehmann (Kangaroo Campaign Lead, AWPC) said.

kangaroo-products-montage“Current ‘management’ plans are aimed solely at providing product for the kangaroo killing industry with little or no consideration for sustainability of the species, despite the iconic status of our national symbol, the kangaroo”, he said.

“How dare we put the kangaroo on our coat of arms and treat them like a pest relic of our penal colonial past”, Mr Lehmann said.

“People all over world love our kangaroos; they are a major tourist attraction, but foreigners are totally bewildered by the appalling treatment we dish out to kangaroos as shown in the recent film Kangaroo – A Love Hate Story”, he continued.

————————————————–
AWPC joins with Kangaroos Alive (www.kangaroosalive.org) in calling for an immediate moratorium on commercial kangaroo shooting across Australia.

In addition, AWPC is calling for an immediate halt to unmanaged non-commercial killing and a return to licensed and properly governed animal control permits.

Finally, AWPC is also calling for an independent population survey of the kangaroo species subjected to commercial harvest in all states and territories.

In light of the Black Summer bushfires when an estimated 3 Billion native animals were killed or displaced, it’s time to stop and check the real status of the major kangaroo species.

“We simply do not know how many kangaroos there are”, according to Mr Chris Lehmann (Kangaroo Campaign Lead for AWPC).

“The official government numbers are not credible”, he said.

NSW and QLD shut down kangaroo shooting across major swathes of both states in recent years. Why? Because commercial shooters weren’t able to find enough animals to shoot (dropped below critical survival densities of a few animals per km2).

“If the government management plans and quotas are accurate, how do we end up in a situation where professional shooters cannot find a kangaroo to shoot?”, he continued.

NSW has increased their kangaroo kill quota by more than 250,000 from 2019 to 2020 despite the massive loss of life in the recent bushfires. How does that add up to responsible wildlife care?

“AWPC has no faith in the official population counts because of ‘adjustment factors’ which magically increase the number of actual sightings to create the illusion of sustainable harvest.”, he said.

A glaring example is provided by the Victoria kangaroo management plan, which claims to “establish harvesting zones and set appropriate annual quotas for each zone”.

Consider just the majestic Red Kangaroo. During the 2017 survey, they observed 23 actual Red Kangaroos and using an ‘adjustment factor’ turned that into a population estimate of 13,000 (*1).

Having found very few Kangaroos at all in 2017, so desperate were the Victorian Government to turn Kangaroos into pet food, they had another go at a survey, this time they came up with a Red Kangaroo population of 44,000. How many did they actually see this time? We now know it was just 91 animals (*2).

“Can anyone actually believe that when spotters fly all over the state and observe only 91 animals, that somehow, the real population is 44,000? This kind of political mathematics is beyond belief”, Lehmann said.

“Wouldn’t you like to have a bank account like that? You deposit $91 in the account and the bank tells you that actually there is $44,000 in the account! Of course, it is absolutely ridiculous and corrupt, but that is how the kangaroo management system works in this country. And the government is happy to dupe the public with fancy statistical blather to justify their lies”, he continued.

Not only are the population numbers wildly wrong — the current kangaroo harvest is unsustainable in other ways.

The killing takes out the next breeding generation, as the code of practice requires that all dependent young must be killed (by decapitation or bashing their head with an iron bar).

Other pertinent questions to be answered:

Q. Why are governments trying to add new species to the approved harvest list? (eg Wallabies in SA)
A. Because the traditional hunted animals cannot be found.

Q. Why are they reducing the minimum weight limits so low as to include joeys just becoming independent from their mothers?
A. Because they cannot find enough large adult animals.

Mr Lehmann concluded, “The gross incompetence of the authorities is obvious to anyone that looks closely.”

“The kangaroo killing industry is a cruel and unsustainable industry marauding across the landscape, in the dead of night, reducing kangaroos to isolated pockets of animals, and potentially unviable long-term populations.”

“It’s time to move from colonialism to co-existence. We are still stuck in the era of ‘if it moves shoot it; if it doesn’t chop it down’.

We can learn to share this beautiful country with wildlife.
Kangaroos could be the source of a fabulous tourism industry, if we choose to coexist and respect them.”

“After all, they have been here for 25 Million years, we (recent immigrants) have only been around for 250. They deserve a much better deal than they are getting from us.”

#worldkangarooday #kangaroosalive #kangaroo #AWPC

Credit (coat of shame): Ray Mjadwesch
Credit (for cartoon): Les Hutchinson

References
*1. A state-wide aerial survey of kangaroos in Victoria, ARI, DELWP, 2017.
*2. State-wide abundance of kangaroos in Victoria, ARI, DELWP, 2019.
(Both reports are available on request.)

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World Kangaroo Day — Live and let live

world-kangaroo-day

with kangaroos, wildlife

AWPC member Maria Taylor shares her block with some kangaroos. Why it’s great.
Everyone can share with their local wildlife.
This clip “The Joy of Living with Kangaroos” was filmed during the recent drought in eastern Australia.

 

Filmed by Creative Cowboy.

 

 

 

 

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