Category Archives: Member News

HERE’S WHAT WE HAVE BEEN UP TO SINCE FEBRUARY

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WITH THE WORLD now topsy-turvey and distressed in the grip of COVID-19 (not unrelated to human abuse of wildlife), we firstly wish all AWPC members to stay safe and hold our governments responsible for support through this pandemic. And here is a summary report on activities this quarter.

We’ve sent out the annual membership renewal notice (this section). We need your help, and commitment to rebuild the AWPC and conduct positive national campaigns in the next year. Post fire and with the ongoing government destruction policies (some of which cited on this website, sadly), the surviving wildlife needs us more than ever.

In the next year a goal is to build on this year’s awareness raising and lobbying against wildlife destruction with some positive campaigns. Some ideas include: a model for ecotourism with Indigenous communities; liaising with regenerative agriculture to show how respecting native biodiversity is a winning formula; reviving our education and publishing arm. We continue to campaign and also support international campaigns for Australia’s most persecuted native animal — Skippy the bush kangaroo and international tourist icon.

AWPC can take a strong part in rebuilding to a smarter, less colonial, more life-affirming political economy as we continue to face the twin existential threats of climate change and biodiversity loss. Let’s aim for that.

awpc-duck-SEASON-feature-may2020Since the beginning of the year, the AWPC committee (Peter Hylands, Chris Lehmann, Carmen Ryan, Maria Taylor), has been re-establishing an operating base, including the website here and a social media presence. As well, committee members have:

•  Lobbied governments in Victoria, ACT and South Australia, particularly on the disgraceful government continuance post bushfires of commercial and non-commercial kangaroo killing that continues unabated. Persecution of other common species including wombats, dingos, flying foxes, and native bird hunting has also been a focus of AWPC lobbying, letters and awareness raising.

AWPC works in tandem with progressive politicians particularly AJP and some Greens for greater impact. AWPC also prioritises working with other wildlife groups on any localised or national issue. There is strength in unity.

•  Supported — ie with listening and resources, contacts, media — people who have contacted us usually from rural communities. Often it has been distress at government programs including aerial baiting with 1080 poison throughout NSW public lands, and localised kangaroo killing in Victoria or concerns this is planned.

•  Made AWPC submissions to reviews of the Environmental Protection Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act; to the Parliament Enquiry into the Extinction Crisis in Victoria; to the National Code of Practice for the Shooting of Kangaroos and Wallabies for commercial purposes. Submission are available at the submission archive on the website top bar.

•  Developed a pilot social media campaign on AWPC facebook and Instagram aimed at speaking directly to the public. The campaign trialed the use of memes (main imagery above). The targets were the Canberra ACT kangaroo killing campaign in late June and July.

A short trial also focused on discouraging consumption for people or pets of Australia’s own variety of bushmeat, kangaroo meat — brought to us by a commercial industry. The memes received a lot of public take-up and are proving their use for awareness-raising and political pushback.

•  Worked with the US Centre for a Humane Economy to publicise their campaign exposing how the California ban on the import and sale of kangaroo body parts is being flouted. In this case the law has been broken by international sports shoe brands’ use of kangaroo leather for athletic shoes. Story is/will be appearing on this website for your information.

•  Travelled through and filed the AWPC archives. This has underscored 50 years of dedicated wildlife work by previous AWPC committees, campaigners and supportive Australians. The archive has yielded documentary evidence for my (Maria Taylor) soon-to-be published book on Australia’s colonial and embedded culture towards the country’s wildlife, and its deadly legacy — told through words and stories of heroes for the voiceless.

— AWPC CONTACT DETAILS —

— AWPC EDITOR, Maria Taylor —

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BEYOND COMPREHENSION (from the AWPC President)

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An update on Australia’s treatment of Kangaroos and Wallabies state-by-state

Dateline: August 2020.

I THOUGHT THAT in this message to you I would attempt to pick out a few of the numerous situations for wildlife across the continent that I am extremely concerned about, this time focusing on Kangaroos and Wallabies. Sadly these provide a pattern for the behaviour and conduct of governments in Australia that extend to other species as well.

ABOVE: There is some good news — Shai Ager and her colleagues (The Agile Project) are relocating Agile Wallabies in North Queensland. See more at end of article. (Image used with permission.)

The very difficult situation faced by Australia’s wildlife makes life very difficult for people as well. I want to thank everyone involved, the AWPC committee, its members and all the other groups, in Australia and overseas, that are working so hard to try to change the attitudes and behaviours that lead to so much cruelty towards, and endangerment of these very precious Australian species.

Frustratingly at this time I am in lockdown in inner Melbourne and that makes dealing with these issues many times more difficult than it would normally be. We prefer to be out there with the animals rather than shut away in the city.

I made the following point to Lily D’Ambrosio, Victoria’s Minster for the Environment, just this morning:

“We should all be very clear that COVID is not a cover for either ignoring the current circumstances (which are dire), or increasing attacks on, biodiversity and biomes in this state”.

Further to lockdown, face masks and wildlife

I want to make the following points about this, during the various lockdowns (Melbourne begins a night time curfew as of this evening) we have done what was asked of us, which goes without saying, and continued to work on our projects at home and online. The food has been delivered and we exist in relative safety.

We are where we are now because many in the community chose to ignore their responsibilities and duty-of-care to others. The breaches of restrictions in the place we live were evident as parties continued and social distancing protocols were ignored. What this has done is to place many of us in very great danger; the front line workers, particularly those in the health care sector, various government employees having to deal with this situation, essential retail staff and the list goes on. We thank them all. We are still much better off than many of our friends across the world, where food is scarce and the opportunity to isolate does not exist.

It is extremely important that everyone wears a face mask to reduce the risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus, the international data on the subject tells a very compelling story. Around the world masks are now everywhere. Many of these masks are single-use and we now see them washing up on the beach and discarded in the streets.

Japan, where mask use is commonplace, particularly when people are using public transport or shopping, produces 4 billion disposable face masks each year, most are used in Japan. So multiply that around the world and we are talking vast numbers of face masks being discarded each and every day. Every single mask, unless disposed of with care, is a deadly hazard for wildlife, both on land or in the sea.


kangaroo-shoes-aug2020Kangaroos are not shoes

In California, where the virus also rages, our friends from the Centre for a Humane Economy release a new study as part of its Kangaroosarenotshoes campaign, which is now gaining attention around the world.

“We now learn the true death and displacement toll as a result of Australia’s catastrophic wildfires may be three billion animals, including uncounted kangaroos,” said Wayne Pacelle, president of the Center for a Humane Economy. “It’s now being called ‘one of the worst wildlife disasters in modern history’. Despite this crisis, commercial shooters are still massacring kangaroos, and their skins are still being sold in California despite a law that makes it a crime to trade in their parts.”  

“Australia’s commercial kangaroo shootings, the world’s largest wildlife slaughter, is being further fuelled by vast violations of a ban on kangaroo body parts in the State of California, according to a new study by the Center for a Humane Economy, a US-based non-profit organization that promotes animal welfare in the business sector”. 


Matters of concern post fire

Nearly three billion animals — mammals, reptiles, birds, and frogs — were killed or displaced by Australia’s devastating 2019–20 bushfires”.  WWF

You may recall that we spent almost two months travelling the fire grounds in NSW / the ACT and Victoria and did so around that devastating Christmas period of 2019–2020. That was trauma enough, but what shocked me to the core was that, despite the vast numbers of native animals killed during that time, and the large amounts of money flooding in to rescue and care for wildlife because of the fires, the killing of Kangaroos and other native Australian animals continued without mercy. Here are a few examples.


The killing of Kangaroos in the ACT

As you can imagine I receive a large number of communications from people around the world, including Australia, who are very concerned about what is happening to Australia’s wildlife — the killings in Canberra are not a good international image for this country and I can say that this negative perception has grown markedly and will continue to do so unless things change.

What follows is a quote regarding Mulligans Flat Nature Reserve in the ACT where shooting had just occurred:

“Never let it be said that driving heavy vehicles on soggy ground, then stepping all over the grass, plants and flora, gets in the way of killing Kangaroos”.  Robyn Soxsmith (Animal Protectors Alliance) 23 June 2020

The threatened species, which the ACT Government says it is protecting through its mass Kangaroo killing programs, continue to disappear, even after all the Kangaroos have gone. After the removal of Kangaroos from grasslands, cattle appear (ecological grazing) on grassland reserves, hazard reduction burns are also conducted and the plans for Canberra’s expansion suggest another 100,000 homes are required. The science that drives the killing is dubious at best.

RELATED STORY:
They’re advised not to shoot Mums in Canberra, ACT — but they do, here’s how

To try to help the local effort to stop the killing, I had a long discussion with Greens MP, Shane Rattenbury, (among other portfolios he is the Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability). Shane has been a keen and long-term supporter of the killing. Shane believes the ACT’s science and quotes it over and over again despite what I described to him. So we went around in a big circle and the killing continues.

According to FOI information obtained, it looks like the ACT Government has spent something in the order of $3.321 million in the four years to 2019 on matters associated with killing Kangaroos.

It is very evident to me, and I am talking continent-wide here, that those protecting wildlife get nothing (particularly if they are protecting Kangaroos), while those killing and demeaning Australia’s wildlife are paid handsomely for their work. It is clear from the rapid endangerment of more and more species across the continent that all governments could have done a great deal better. The current results are a marker of performance.


South Australia and the killing of Kangaroos, adding Wallabies

I have challenged the South Australian Government on their plans to ‘prey switch’ by adding other species of Wallaby and Kangaroo to their ‘harvest list that legalises this abhorrent and cruel trade in wildlife. Additional species include the Kangaroo Island Tammar Wallaby (mainland species thought to have been extinct) and the Eastern Grey Kangaroo (until recently described by the South Australian Government as rare in the state). The later magically increasing in population while other species, because of severe drought and significant levels of killing, have experienced significant declines in already exaggerated population estimates.

“The SA Government estimates there are about 1.5 million red kangaroos in the state, followed by 1.3 million western grey kangaroos and 570,000 wallaroos, or euros. For red kangaroos, that is a fall of 39 per cent from the previous year and 4 per cent down on the average”.  ABC July 2020

The response from the government in relation to my questions regarding the Eastern Grey Kangaroo was as follows:

“Kangaroo populations in the north of the state have declined since 2018 due to drought conditions that continue to effect these regions. The Eastern Grey Kangaroo has increased in distribution and abundance in the south east of SA over the last 10–15 years and no longer meets the requirements of a rare species under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972.” 

Shockingly one response from the government, when I asked about the dangers inherent in this industry in relation to disease, including COVID and its evident presence in factories processing animals, simply stated that:

“Agricultural industries, which includes the commercial kangaroo industry, and related businesses across the food chain are considered an essential service and may operate as normal with consideration of social distancing and other restrictions”.  SA Department of Environment and Water

Kangaroo Island that tourists love: also a target for kangaroo killing?

Given the scale of the fire tragedy on Kangaroo Island, which also received significant funding for wildlife rescue and rehabilitation from around the world (and the species on it were also a pre-wildfire target for expansion of the commercial trade in Kangaroos and Wallabies) required a question from me in relation to the population survey being conducted on the island and what the government calls a ‘harvest’. Here is the answer:

“The purpose of a kangaroo and wallaby survey on Kangaroo Island is to gather an island wide population estimate post-fire. This information will be used to inform decisions regarding a sustainable harvest on the island”.  SA Department of Environment and Water

In Victoria (as of 3 August 2020) the case of the Lilydale Kangaroos, is yet another stranding, despite the government’s promises that this would not be allowed to happen again. The lives of these animals, they were due to be killed in the next few days as I write, hung in the balance. Along with strong submissions from neighbouring residents and other wildlife defender groups I wrote to the Victoria’s Environment Minister:

“I understand that DELWP are using the excuse that Kangaroos cannot be rescued successfully as 40 percent will die when relocated. As I have said over and over and over again in my many communications to the Victorian Government and in my many writings and articles on the subject, this assertion is a falsehood. And by ignoring the evidence and circumstances we face today, the Victorian Government ignores the endless and immense suffering these animals experience (not to mention the sentient humans that live in this state) caused by the actions of the Victorian Government and its archaic attitudes. And in continuing with the same old nonsense, ignoring the extraordinary loss of wildlife, not only from the persecution of numerous native species by the government (Labor is at least twice as bad as what proceeded it — which was terrible) but also from the wildfires. The latter, can be described as the greatest single catastrophe for Australian wildlife in thousands of years.”

We can only hope, particularly given the disastrous COVID situation in Victoria, that theses animals, a small number, get a reprieve and the government shows some common sense and compassion, rather than allowing the killing of wildlife to continue while the rest of us are told to stay at home.

Now we move to Melbourne’s North and the peri-urban local government area of Nillumbik. I had a strong sense that the Victorian Government’s environment department (DELWP) was trying to open up Melbourne’s peri-urban local government areas (where Kangaroos still exist) to commercial shooters. This is because Kangaroo populations in the rural parts of the state have been decimated as is evident by the figures now showing up on government reports. I hope that the significant concern from a lot of people that this might be the plan, has kept this terrible plan at bay for now. We do however all need to keep an eye on the situation.

The killing of Kangaroos in some regions of Victoria has been significant, and that includes the area around the settlement of Dunkeld in that state’s west where shocking scenes of butchering are described by the town’s residents and business people.

“We could hear shooting very close by and could see the vehicles moving around 178 Victoria Valley Road. We were terrified for, not only our lives, but our neighbours as well.  The Police did not attend; we went outside to see what was happening.  We called the Hamilton Police directly, but they again refused to come out, claiming that the shooter had a permit”.  Jane Gibb, Dunkeld


Queensland

Here, there is a well-deserved victory for wildlife. Our congratulations to Shai Ager and her colleagues for the hard won success. The battle has been with the Queensland Government, its Environment Department attempting to block rescue efforts of these beautiful and diminutive animals, and in doing so enabling the cruel death of many animals as they have been vandalised and poisoned.

 

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Our work is vital for the animals. If you have not already renewed your 2020–21 AWPC membership …

AWPC-editorial-Jan2020-v3

… PLEASE, NOW.

Dear Members and Friends of Australia’s Wildlife

A huge THANK YOU to those who have already renewed their support for the coming year. For many of you, this commitment reaches back into AWPC’s 50 year history of wildlife activism.

For those who may have missed our reminder — Membership renewals are now due (as of 1 July 2020) with contributions of $20; or $10 for concession.

NOTE: All members who joined AWPC from March 2020 will have their respective membership carry-over for the 2020–2021 year.

To renew your membership (or to update your details); or if you are a new member — please fill-in the digital form on our website by simply clicking on this LINK.

The support you all provide through membership and donations allows AWPC to continue to work with other wildlife groups; provide communications and media liaison; lobby government; produce publications; and initiate education projects. We are also interested in seeking sponsorship and affiliation with other conservation-focused organisations.

Tax deductible donations!
Your donations are needed for the important work we do for wildlife.
Donations can be made online
 HERE.

Over the past year AWPC has been active in making submissions to governments, submitting letters, and making personal approaches to agencies and politicians that are enabling the killing of our wildlife.

A lot of work has gone into revitalising our AWPC website and developing more social media information and education pathways, because ever more people use these pathways to information. Please visit and share the website and AWPC Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and help us improve them.

Members of the public continue to contact us, distraught about government activities like the spreading of 1080 baits in burned forests.

— Thank you everyone for caring about wildlife —

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Thank you Coronavirus, Climate Change, Drought, Fire …

awpc-duck-SEASON-feature-may2020

2020 DUCK HUNTING SEASON SEES FEW SHOOTERS.
But sadly, also fewer birds.

AS THE VICTORIAN Labor government comes under increasing pressure to stop enabling the barbaric slaughter of Australia’s beautiful water birds for some people’s idea of fun, duck defenders are more organised than ever.

They have told us at the Australian Wildlife Protection Council (AWPC) there are few birds to be seen this year on the state’s plentiful wetlands. Mercifully, there are also few shooters in 2020 — so far. (The Victorian season is supposed to end June 8 and before that regional activists worry about motels opening up and more shooters settling in with doubtful social distancing).

Why do politicians support this carnage? Traditionally, votes and money. A recent government figure claims about 48,000 licensed game hunters in Victoria. Less than half may be duck shooters. Field and Game Australia represent a percentage and published figures indicate that active shooters may be on the decrease.

A 2018 ABC report quoted former NSW Premier Bob Carr (who banned duck hunting in NSW) advising Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews to stop worrying and ban the slaughter. Andrews hasn’t, despite Victorian Labor MPs voting to stop the hunt.

(Click on the READ MORE links to get the full reports, all worth a look.)

Bob Carr urges Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews to ban duck hunting
[READ MORE]

On May 20, the ABC (on its website and TV) published drone footage of drug-taking by an armed hunter. That’s illegal. Mind you, the drinking before the shooting is considered an unremarkable part of Australian wildlife-killing culture. Also published was documented evidence of shooters ignoring hunting rules, eg footage of an injured duck thrown to dogs. Or not bothering with euthanasing injured birds, widely reported every year.

Victorian duck shooter’s guns seized and licence suspended after drone spies suspect behaviour
[READ MORE]

The game authority and its policing aids in Victoria have for years come under sustained criticism, but the status quo remains — almost no policing or prosecution, except for policing of demonstrators. Rescuers reported that a person was fined at Hospital Swamp near Geelong on 23 May for rescuing a sick swan. Fine around $1,000. Hospital Swamp is part of internationally protected RAMSAR wetland Lake Connewarre.

Victorian Agriculture Minister ‘very concerned’ after leaked report claims hunters are regularly breaking law
[READ MORE]

South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory also enable wild bird slaughter. There is no evidence things are better in those states.

Scientists have told authorities as recently as November 2019 that waterbird populations have fallen by up to 90 percent in the eastern states thanks to drought and mismanagement of water policies. That still did not move the executive of the states approving bird hunting.

Waterbird population has fallen as much as 90 percent in Australia’s east, shows 37-year study
[READ MORE]

The story from the front line, and have your say

Veteran water bird defender Laurie Levy gave AWPC this report (below) in May. It looks back at how a lengthy campaign built, and what duck defenders saw this year in Victoria. Will it all be too late? Not if enough citizens keep the pressure on.

> VIEW FULL POST HERE


Related pictures and stories from past Australian Duck Hunting seasons:

  • Ramsar? Really?  by Creative Cowboy Films  [VIEW]
  • Ugly Duckling  by Creative Cowboy Films  [VIEW]

HAVE YOUR SAY

Contact, or write to your nearest Australian Conservation or Welfare Minister.

[ DOWNLOAD PDF ]

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KANGAROO a Love-Hate story: streaming now

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KANGAROO a Love-Hate story  is now available on some major streaming platforms eg Google Play, iTunes, Amazon Prime, etc.

The film has been used effectively around the world for awareness-raising.

The story unveils the mass killing of Australia’s kangaroos to please farmers and for bushmeat, pet food and sports shoe leather.

Please share with your networks. We want to stop this nation-shaming slaughter of our national icon.

For more information: www.kangaroothemovie.com

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Want to help? One way — sign a petition.

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Protect our Koalas

Our koalas were devastated during the fires. Now logging might cost them what little habitat they have left. Can you sign the petition demanding the NSW Government take action now?

Petition: Protect our Koalas

www.getup.org.au


Halt the Extinction of the Greater Glider

Australian Scientists have known that the magical and beautiful Greater Glider was on its way to extinction. Its been called a cross between a flying Koala and a Possum. In Conjola National Park NSW and the surrounding forests they were making a comeback. It had taken over 20 years. That was until the extinction event of the East Coast Bushfires 2019. Especially the Currowan Fire. IMAGE: Hans and Judy Beste.

> Link to PETITION UPDATE  [27 May 2020, Bill Eger].

Petition: Halt the Extinction of the Greater Glider

change.org


Toxic poison including 1080 is used to kill Dingoes

Sign the Change.org petition #BAN1080
AGAINST 1080 THAT HAS ALREADY GARNERED 28,000+ SIGNATURES

     — and PASS IT ON.


UPDATE: Save Mt Lofty Koala Habitat
(Toowoomba, Qld)

It’s not quite over yet folks, stay tuned.

> View original story here.


Close all Wildlife Trading Markets Globally

The COVID-19 pandemic is thought to have emerged from a wet market for wildlife in Wuhan, China. If so this cruel and dangerous trade is culpable for millions getting sick and dying, workers losing their jobs and businesses going broke.

Click on heading below to link to more petition information.

Petition: Close all Wildlife Trading Markets Globally

change.org


Stop Kangaroo Cruelty in NSW!

This petition was started by the AWPC in 2019 to appeal to the NSW Government and Opposition andis now appealing to the NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean and the Premier Gladys Berejiklian to stop the practice of widespread, unmonitored shooting of kangaroos to please farmers. This is continuing despite the bushfires that have killed hundreds of millions of NSW’s native animals, with remaining populations uncertain.

    > Read more here.

Sign the petition here.
change.org


 

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