Category Archives: Media Release

Media Release: Land Clearing wrecking our environment

Environment Minister Greg Hunt

Dear Greg

This week media reports have detailed the Federal Government’s approval for significant clearing of Critically Endangered woodlands in the Hunter Valley and lack of oversight on potentially illegal broad-scale clearing in Cape York, permitted by the former Queensland Government in direct contravention of national environment law.

The Federal Environment Department has just given mining company Coal and Allied the green light to clear 535 hectares of White Box-Yellow Box-Blakely’s Red Gum Grassy Woodland and Derived Native Grassland, a Critically Endangered ecological community listed under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

The community has been recognised as Critically Endangered since 2006, primarily due to a decline in geographic distribution, and since that time numerous developments have chipped away at what remains. Permitting a further 535 vital hectares to be cleared for a single project indicates the Government is loath to use its habitat protection powers effectively.

This is a unique and incredibly important ecosystem that has been absolutely smashed by development. More than 93% of the woodlands have been cleared since European settlement, yet the Commonwealth has justified the destruction of a further 535 hectares by requiring a biodiversity offset management plan and vegetation clearance protocols – simply inappropriate measures for Critically Endangered habitats,” said Humane Society International.

Similarly bad news has surfaced in Cape York, where clearing of 33,000 hectares of habitat for the buff-breasted button-quail (the only known Australian bird to have never been photographed in the wild) and at least 17 other threatened species listed under the EPBC Act was permitted in the dying days of the former Queensland Government.



The EPBC Act is not meant to be used in this farcical way – Maryland Wilson Australian Wildlife Protection Council Inc.

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 “Avoid culling roos for development by planning wildlife corridors,” says Craig Thomson, AWPC’s new Wildlife Planning Officer.

Today, 7 December 2015, the Australian Wildlife Protection Council (AWPC) announced its appointment of Mr Craig Thomson, of Wildlife Ecosystems Retention and Restoration, as their Wildlife Planning Officer.

“It’s a great privilege to work with AWPC,” said Mr Thomson. “Currently with land clearing for development, councils require ‘offsets’. But offsets very rarely consider what happens to displaced wildlife, except for ‘managing’ it, which is a euphemism for conducting ‘cull’ or ‘fertility’ programs.

Craig-Thomson-Wildlife Planner

Maryland Wilson, AWPC President, said she was shocked to read of Ian Temby’s recent call to cull kangaroos ahead of development as the only option for roos displaced by Melbourne’s expansion. (Call for kangaroos to be culled along Melbourne’s urban fringe,by Simon Lauder, ABC, 30 Nov 2015).

“There is another non-violent solution,” she said. “It is a scandal that we have suffered through a succession of planning documents for Melbourne, without any allocating land for habitat with interconnecting continuous wildlife corridors that would enable safe passage for native animals. They have also failed to provide more than a tiny handful of animal bridges and underpasses at significant points on roads where wildlife often cross. Kangaroos, koalas, and other wildlife are increasingly road accident victims. As Melbourne expands to accommodate its human population growth program, suburban development pushes them out onto roads. This is planning negligence. “

AWPC says it has repeatedly engaged with councils in devising detailed plans for wildlife corridors. To date, however, no state government has cooperated with these plans, despite obligations to protect wildlife under the Fauna and Flora Guarantee Act.

“Instead, we have been repeatedly stone-walled. The result is the carnage Mr Temby suggests can only be avoided through culls. AWPC will be seeking a meeting with the Andrews State Government to negotiate for wildlife corridors instead of culling,” said President Maryland Wilson.

Mr Thomson spoke of an imminent campaign to buy land on the Mornington Peninsula through crowd-funding. The aim is to create a private land reserve system for a wildlife corridor between national parks to sustain wildlife in the future. He says the matter is urgent as suburban development and a recent spate of farm-fencing are blocking the kangaroos’ natural behaviour on the Peninsula.

Mr Thomson added, “It is ironic that some farmers are paying a lot of money for services that kangaroos would provide for free. For instance, vineyards spend much time and money keeping grass and weeds down between the vines. But, if they took down the fences and let the kangaroos in, the roos would not eat the vines, but they would keep the grass short.”

CONTACT: Mr Craig Thomson, Wildlife Planning Officer, AWPC: 0474651292; Maryland Wilson, President, AWPC: 61359788570

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Queensland Environment Minister Must Initiate Independent Enquiry into Dingo Mismanagement and Cruelty on Fraser Island April 1, 2016

National Dingo Preservation and Recovery Program (Inc. A0051763G ) Thursday, April 1, 2016

President of the National Dingo Preservation and Recovery Program Inc. research veterinarian and animal ethics expert, Dr Ian Gunn, called on the Qld Environment Minister Dr Steven Miles, to initiate an independent inquiry into cruelty & mismanagement of the dingoes on Fraser Island. Dr Gunn said the recent inappropriate collaring of a juvenile dingo, which had caused the animal distress was the latest in a sequence of events which raise serious questions about animal welfare aspects of current dingo management on Fraser Island.


This incident involved the use of a heavy radio tracking collar on a juvenile dingo for purposes that appear unrelated to any current research program and therefore for a purpose unrelated to bulky and heavy design of the collar. Photographs taken by a tourist clearly show that the sharp edges of the heavy collar had worn away the fur on the dingo’s neck and would have unnecessarily interfered with the young dingo’s mobility and well-being. That the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service removed the collar after public criticism and the animal was found dead the following day raises more questions than it answers, Dr Gunn said.

Juvenile dingo with bulky/heavy collar 2016- These events follow an incident, in 2015, when another juvenile dingo was ‘humanely’ euthanised after allegedly becoming aggressive.

Necropsy photographs obtained through Queensland Right to Information legislation point to severe physical trauma prior to death. Dr Gunn, who conferred with senior veterinary colleagues over photographic evidence, concluded the dingo had suffered massive internal bleeding in the abdominal cavity consistent with a heavy blow or impact prior to being put down through lethal injection to the heart. There is no discussion of this evidence in the inadequate official necropsy report. Dr Gunn said: “ We have evidence of unacknowledged animal trauma and unanswered animal welfare questions.”


Necropsy report , October 2015 Internal bleeding within abdominal cavity – severe pre-death trauma

Possibly the most serious dingo cruelty incident at the hands of Queensland wildlife authorities occurred on Fraser Island in May 2011, as part of dingo trapping for radio collaring research. The necropsy report for this juvenile male dingo reads like a horror story. Upon examination of the report at the time, Dr Ian Gunn stated:

In all my years as a veterinary surgeon, I have never witnessed anything like this. This animal died in agony while trapped and restrained as part of ‘research’ being conducted by Queensland government authorities charged with its protection. The necropsy report stated that the otherwise healthy dingo had been restrained for ‘some period of time’. It had been pinned down by a pole noose and pinning device. It had chipped and fractured teeth, had extensive internal bleeding, including widespread bruising and haemorrhaging to the thorax, limbs, neck and lumbar spine region, bleeding from the eye, tearing of the muscles between the ribs and the chest wall, and congested and collapsed lungs. In its final moments of life, the dingo vomited its stomach contents into its airways.



Necropsy report 2011

The National Dingo Preservation and Recovery Program subsequently sent a solicitors’ letter to the relevant Queensland government departments and Ministers alleging serious breaches of the law and inadequate animal ethics practices relating to this incident. No acknowledgement was received, let alone action taken. Not one person was held to account.

“It is time for the buck to stop and it has to stop with the Queensland Minister”, Dr Gunn said today. “The Queensland government’s claim that the Fraser Island dingo population is being managed ‘humanely’ is now in serious doubt. The only way to get to the bottom of this mess and, it seems cover up, is to conduct a genuinely independent animal welfare inquiry into dingo management on Fraser Island. The Queensland wildlife authorities seem incapable of this themselves.”

Contact: Dr Ian Gunn BVSc. FACVSc.0427 387778 (mob.)

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We won!

Thanks to everyone who emailed Californian Senators. You joined up to 100,000 people around the world who signed petitions and contacted the Senators directly.

Thankyou California

Keep an eye on our website for more pages going up soon about ecology, surveys and the industry.

Brilliant work by the amazing Californian lobbyist Jennifer Fearing, our partner US team Humane Society US and CA, and the wonderful Australian organisations who co-signed letters to Californian senators and put out the call via their networks. It’s been an inspiring win.

Everyone rocks!

Helen Bergen
Bathurst NSW Australia
+61 (0)423 405 993
Kangaroos at Risk
science & research

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