Category Archives: Features

Mass destruction of Native Wildlife is imminent in Sydney



I thought you might like to hear that Mirvac contacted residents [mid-November] and they have backed down from their plans to start demolition works this November. They have instead said that they will not start tree felling until 2022 … a win for the community! And certainly a win for the wildlife that is presently breeding in the forest at Coonara Avenue. We are all very pleased. 

I updated my petition and want to thank everyone who signed it and shared it to support our cause. 

It just goes to show that you can never underestimate the strength we all have when we work together!!


Thanks so much for your concern and support — it really helped.


We had a great turnout given the short notice and about 35 people attended from all different community groups and political parties. The rally was truly bipartisan and we had representatives from The Greens, Labor, AJP etc. In particular, Cate Faehrmann MP did a live Facebook feed and highlighted our request for MIRVAC to do the right thing and delay demolition works until after the wildlife has had time to finish raising their young. 

There was lots of community support from the cars going past tooting at us!!

The great turnout shows how strongly everyone feels about the timing of these works. If Mirvac really do care — as they say they do!! — what is the harm in waiting a few weeks longer to give the babies more chance to survive?

I have attached some photos, above, for you to see how we went. Thanks for trying — we appreciate it. 


Katrina Emmett, I Nov 2021


FOR A NUMBER of years, there has been a passionate campaign by the local community in West Pennant Hills, Sydney to save a very special and unique area at 55 Coonara Avenue. The site is one of the Priority Management sites under the NSW Save our Species Scheme and is adjacent to the Cumberland State Forest.

The area contains Critically Endangered Ecological Communities (EEC’s) and is a breeding ground for the Powerful Owl and the Dural Land Snail which are both threatened species. The area is also home to hundreds of other animals including, but not limited to: microbats, possums and gliders, snakes, lizards, echidnas and birds of all shapes and sizes.

Residents of the Hills District cannot believe that further destruction of this scale can be approved. Pandemic rush for development sets up clearing of rich biodiversity and critically-endangered species.

For many, many years the site has been a Business Park for IBM, but MIRVAC acquired the site and applied to have the area rezoned to Residential. This application was REJECTED by Hills Shire Council in November 2019.

When COVID happened, council’s decision was sadly overturned by State Government under it’s Fast Track Assessment COVID Programme.

1,253 trees, habitat and biodiversity face demolition

On Wednesday 15 September, MIRVAC finally got approval for demolition and clearing of 1,253 trees from the site as the first stage in its Master Development Plan. This will be absolutely devastating for the forest and all the native wildlife that have called this area home for many decades.

Of the 1,253 to be removed, over 450 are Critically Endangered Blue Gum High Forest (BGHF) and Sydney Turpentine-Ironbark Forest. Current statistics reveal less than 140 hectares of BGHF is left in the world.

The biodiversity of flora and fauna in the area is amazing and considering Australia’s extinction record and the diabolical loss of habitat and wildlife in last year’s violent bushfires, the residents of the Hills District cannot believe that further destruction of this scale can be approved.

The residents say the pandemic should not be used as an excuse to power through development applications when the development is not required or supported by locals and Council.

The approval for Demolition and Clearing has been given from 1 October 2021 so MIRVAC can go in and start work anytime.

The only provisions in the Conditions of the DA relate to tree hollows and the threatened species, including some surveying of the microbats in the existing structures. However, there are no provisions for any ground dwelling animals or birds that nest in the tree canopies. How can this be acceptable? Especially during critical Spring Breeding time?!

Local groups have reached out for support in writing to the Councillors, Federal and State Environment Ministers and the media to get the demolition and clearing delayed until after Spring when the baby animals will have fledged and/or be more independent. The least MIRVAC can do is delay their destruction until Spring is over to avoid decimating two generations of our wildlife, instead of just one!!


I have written to everyone … but now the politicians seem to have their hands full hanging onto their jobs.

I have sent the petition to the following decision makers:

Penny Sharpe, Shadow Environment Minister:

Matt Kean, Environment Minister:             

David Elliott, Local Member:

Rob Stokes, Planning Minister 

Michelle Byrne, Hills Council Mayor:

Cate Faehrmann, Greens Spokesperson on Environment:           


— Thanks, let’s hope our campaign doesn’t get lost in all the turmoil. 




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Let’s celebrate our magnificent kangaroos with your glorious photos!


View the competition results HERE

Enter now until 6 October 2021

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Climate change and biodiversity loss, solutions needed


THE HEATWAVES NORTH America is currently experiencing and our own “hottest on record” [1] 2019–20 summer indicates extreme heat events will become frequent. In 2019 tens of thousands of native Grey-headed flying foxes died and the Spectacled flying fox lost a third of its total population in 44C heat. [2]   

IMAGE: Grey-headed flying fox (Pteropus poliocephalus) with her pup in Brisbane’s Roma Street Parklands. By Andrew Mercer, Wikipedia. CC By-SA 4.0 

We will see 46–50C days soon, and when we do, one of the engines of our forests, the pollinating flying foxes that service over 100 species of native trees and plants, will die. Entire colonies will be wiped out. Bat conservationists are calling on the Federal Department of Environment Minister, the Hon. Sussan Ley, to aid the installation of cooling sprayers in every flying fox camp listed by her department as being of national importance [3]. In extreme heat colony cooling is the only intervention that will save sufficient numbers of flying foxes to regenerate and maintain ecosystems.  

There are at least 100 flying fox camps in eastern Australia that need sprayers and at a cost of around $250,000 or less, per camp, this would equate to about $25 million. A paltry sum to save carbon-sequestering (forest building) long distance out-cross pollinators and seed dispersers. These are the landscape-level ecosystems needed by the bees and insects that pollinate many agricultural crops. Bats mean business. It’s nearly as simple as that.   

Grey-headed and Spectacled flying fox populations [4] have already been decimated by starvation caused by land-clearing [5], bushfires and urban netting entanglements. Installing cooling systems in flying fox camps is something practical that will help Australian flying foxes survive:  

“The bat you see Melbourne today may be the same bat you see in Brisbane a month later — that’s how far they fly and they build forest all the way. But they can’t do it if they’re dead. Cooling camps makes sense — ecologically and bottom line.”  

[1]  Bureau of Meteorology, Australia Warming Graphic.png 

[2]  BBC News, How one Heatwave killed a Third of a Bat Species in Australia, Jan 15, 2019.

[3]  Nationally Important Camps of Grey-headed Flying-fox (Fed Dept of Environment). 

[4]  Both bat species are Federally Listed as Vulnerable to Extinction, Environment Protection & Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

[5] Twenty three Queensland Spectacled flying fox camps have been destroyed since 1970s with forty still in existence (Pteropus Conspictillatus – Spectacled Flying fox – Recovery Plan, QLD Govt, Australian Govt 2010.

—  Lawrence Pope, Friends of Bats & Bushcare Inc. 


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Australia poisons Dingo, the native dog: its what we do for sheep



A NOTICE WARNING of fox and wild dog baiting in local forests appeared in the Public Notice section of Narooma News, on Wednesday May 26.

Animals to be targeted under this program are foxes and wild dogs. Dingoes have been classed as “wild dogs” for the purpose of the scheme, even though as a native animal with an important role to play as an apex predator in the eco-system they should be entitled to protection.

EDITORIAL COMMENTThis ABC article (linked here) comes around to recognise the dingo as apex predator but still peppers the report with pastoralist ideas of what is a ‘pest’ to be removed, including the native kangaroos, and what might be allowed to live.

Tragically for the already disrupted balance of nature other native animals will also die a hideous, painful death as a result of ingesting 1080 poison.

This poison is so damaging to people, birds and animals it has been banned in most other countries of the world. PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) reports that: “1080 is toxic to all living species, including microbes, plants, insects, birds and humans. There are reports that Nazis considered using the poison on Jewish prisoners in concentration camps but decided against it because of danger to the guards.”

Fire and drought: let’s follow it with poisoning

Hasn’t our wildlife suffered enough death and dislocation as a result of flood, fire and famine over the last few years without being subjected to further pain and loss from such an indiscriminate and dangerous scheme?

RELATED ARTICLE:  Poisoned pills showered on burned parks and reserves.  

Are we so little concerned with environmental issues and the fact that Australia already has one of the highest wildlife extinction rates in the world that we allow our state forests to become killing fields for the next four months?

So why is this plan being condoned by the state government and accepted by local councils? Presumably it is in response to some farmers complaints about threats to their livestock in areas adjoining state forests, but what exactly is this threat? And aren’t there more humane ways of livestock protection, even if will mean less income for manufacturers of 1080?

Domestic dog owners know

If you are the owner of a dog that has eaten part of poisoned carrion dropped into your backyard, or of a maremma guardian dog protecting sheep that died in agony you will certainly have an opinion! Animal Rights lawyer, Marilyn Nuske is even challenging the legality of using 1080 poison.

As a controversial issue among the relatively few people who know of this scheme, why haven’t the views of animal rights groups, humanitarians, ecologists, scientists and biologists been discussed, debated and publicised before this war on wildlife was  been declared as a fait accompli?

Indigenous people for whom the dingo is a totem animal believe we must learn to live in harmony with Nature.

In the words of David Attenborough —

“It’s surely our responsibility to do everything within our power to provide a planet that provides a home — not just for us — but for all life on earth”.

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NSW Parliament starts kangaroo enquiry. First in 25 years.

A NSW parliamentary inquiry underway in early June is investigating health and well-being of kangaroos and other macropods in NSW, the first such official look in 25 years.

The inquiry, requested by the Animal Justice Party will explore a range of issues including the historical and long-term health and well-being indicators of macropod populations and the impact of both commercial and non-commercial killing of kangaroos — including the risk of localised extinction in New South Wales.

Public hearings for the inquiry are being held at
NSW Parliament House on

11 and 15 June 2021 and will be live streamed via
With the backdrop of NSW recovering from drought and bushfires this inquiry will look at the impacts of the commercial kangaroo industry on the state’s kangaroo populations.

One of the witnesses called to testify at this inquiry is Mick McIntyre, award-winning filmmaker (KANGAROO: A LOVE-HATE STORY) and co-founder of Kangaroos Alive, a not-for-profit dedicated to the ethical treatment of kangaroos.

“The way kangaroos are managed in NSW has not been reviewed for over twenty-five years. This lack of transparency has resulted in kangaroos being subjected to abject cruelty night after night and this public inquiry is long overdue,” McIntyre said. “The kangaroo is the only terrestrial species of wildlife in the world unprotected from mass destruction, and this barbaric cruelty goes on every night. This inquiry is a defining moment for our national icon. We must stand up and say THIS MUST STOP. We need a national moratorium on the killing of kangaroos.”

Other witness testimony will come from Greg Keightley and Diane Smith who run a kangaroo sanctuary in the Blue Mountains. Their eyewitness accounts of cruelty to kangaroos will be presented to the inquiry.

“The killing of kangaroos is cruel and barbaric,” said Keightley. “We think that the people of NSW will be shocked when they see our new evidence. We call on this inquiry to recommend that we stop the killing of kangaroos.”

Kangaroos are shot in the wild and at night which affects the ability of shooters to accurately and precisely aim at kangaroos. Vast numbers of non-fatal body shots are part of this commercial industry, causing painful injuries that often result in extensive suffering before death — not to mention the fate of their young joeys who are also killed as collateral damage when females are shot.

Other witnesses called to the inquiry include leading macropod expert, Dr Dror Ben-Ami from Tel Aviv University and Yuin elder Uncle Max Dulumunmun Harrison.

Dr Ben Ami said: “The circumstances of the kangaroo hunt carry inherent risks of bacterial contamination of the meat. Kangaroos are butchered in the field, without supervision and by shooters that are usually not trained for such purposes. Carcasses are then transported, sometimes all night long, in unrefrigerated open trucks exposed to dust, flies and often high temperatures.

The COVID-19 crisis demonstrated the urgent need to re-evaluate our relationship with wildlife. Commercial kangaroo hunting is a particularly unhygienic and cruel industry. The kangaroo industry makes a sham of hygiene regulation and good practice, whilst deceiving the public that meat washed in acetic and lactic acid is fresh and healthy.

Extensive independent and published testing has shown that (If untreated with lactic or acetic acid) kangaroo meat is usually contaminated with unacceptably high levels of E. coli and salmonella.”

Mick McIntyre said: “The shooting of kangaroos threatens kangaroo population, results in poor animal welfare and the consumption of kangaroo products risks human health and safety. The killing of kangaroos is one of the worst examples of indifference and intolerance towards wildlife in the world and reflects badly on Australia’s international reputation.”

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US wildlife lovers aim to stop Oz trade in body parts


For the first time in a generation, the Kangaroo Protection Act (H.R. 917) has been introduced in the United States Congress to address the mass slaughter of kangaroos for athletic shoes and other garments. ​ 

The Issue:
Some two million kangaroos are killed each year in the largest commercial slaughter of mammals on the planet. Kangaroos are killed for their skins, including for soccer shoes, and their meat is used for pet food. Though over a billion animals were killed in the Australian wildfires, leaving so much carnage and loss of life, Australian political leaders continue to support massive commercial killing of the nation’s iconic animal.

Although manufacturers like Nike and Adidas have made great strides in developing soccer shoes made of synthetic materials (sometimes derived from recycled ocean plastic), more than a dozen major soccer shoe companies continue to use kangaroo leather. An exception is Diadora, which announced it will stop using kangaroo skin by the end of 2020. British fashion designer Paul Smith, who recently collaborated with New Balance on a kangaroo leather soccer shoe, has also disavowed using kangaroo. As have many other fashion brands like Versace and Stella McCartney.


The Business Case:
Given that synthetic soccer shoes are lighter, more durable, sustainable and environmentally-friendly — and don’t come with the stigma of a dead animal — the demand for kangaroo leather will decrease. Awareness about the plight of kangaroos and other wildlife affected by the Australian wildfires makes this already indefensible slaughter even more archaic and retrograde. Further, California is the largest market for soccer shoes in the US and prohibits kangaroo leather from being imported or sold in the state.

NEWS UPDATE:  New Jersey lawmakers take aim at blunting world’s largest commercial wildlife slaughter by seeking ban on sale of kangaroo parts


RELATED STORY: How Canberra tells you what to think


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