Category Archives: Native Animals

AWPC: Bush Heritage big assertions on kangaroos need evidence before any action

“Bush heritage makes some rather big assertions about the impact of kangaroos at their Scottdale reserve and the impacts this wildlife species is having on the biodiversity there. If Bush Heritage is serious about their claims then they need to be a little more transparent,” writes Craig Thomson, President of the Australian Wildlife Protection Council.

“Bush Heritage Australia has forfeited the inheritance of a 350-acre property near Bega and lost numerous donors as they face backlash from a planned kangaroo cull at Scottsdale​ Reserve, south of Canberra. Regular supporters of the non-profit organisation have pulled donations following reports of a cull, with one referring to the organisation as “hopeless frauds”. Bush Heritage aims to “conserve biodiversity” at properties either purchased or donated across Australia.

They can start by answering and providing information to the following questions

– When do they class a wildlife species as being over abundant?
– What is a sustainable kangaroo population at Scottdale Reserve?
– What is the roos’ population current range in and around their reserve?
– Are there any neighbouring or local land uses or management practices that would see kangaroos returning to Scottdale reserve more often and in greater number?
– How many kangaroos are on the reserve day in and out?
– Has there been any scientific data of kangaroo starvation cases at Scottdale reserve or regionally before?
– While it is hard to watch an animal starve to death, it is a common condition of the natural world, in particular with drought and over abundant populations. So why do Bush Heritage feel the need to interject in a natural process, which in itself could have far bigger ecological problems?
– What is the science and guidelines being implemented by Bush heritage?
– Who are the independent experts being engaged by Bush Heritage?
– What humane methods are being developed?
– What scientific evidence can Bush Heritage provide that kangaroos are having a detrimental effect on other species?
– Has all weed habitat changing plants like serrated tussock grass been removed from Scottdale reserve and regionally?
– Do Bush heritage conduct any fuel reduction burns at Scottdale reserve?
– Is Scottdale reserve free of pest animals such as rabbits?

We hear explanations of why there are too many and debate what control measures should be taken. What is very rarely discussed is what is a sustainable population size, the roos ecological benefits and social structure. In a race to demonise our national icon for commercial vested interest or in this case a so called natural balance. The critical point missed is the roo social structure. Large alpha males control breeding within the mobs. When shooting takes place which animals are shot first? Well you can very confidently say it would be the roos who control the social structures within the mobs.

So the question about controlling kangaroos should be whether or not a bias against kangaroos prevents us from understanding their biology, ecology and social structures? Has this led to poor management practices, where the preferential killing of large males has possibly caused early breeding of youngsters, increasing numbers in some cases? (See Sheila Newman, “Roo scientists admit industry stimulates roo population growth whilst calling roos pests”.)

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Ban Ceremonial Balloon Releases Due To The Negative Impact On Marine And Wildlife

All released balloons return to the earth as litter, mostly in fragments, polluting both our land and seas. They, along with their attached ribbons, pose a huge threat to marine and wildlife as they resemble edible items to the animals.

When an animal ingests these fragments they are usually killed from the balloon blocking the digestive tract, leaving them unable to take in any more nutrients resulting in the animal slowly starving to death. Animals can also become entangled in the balloon and/or its ribbon rendering them unable to move or eat and again slowly starving to death.

Sea turtles are especially vulnerable to ingestion as they naturally pray on jellies which balloon fragments can easily be mistaken for. Six of the world’s seven species of marine turtle occur in Australian waters three of which are considered to be critically endangered.

Birds too are extremely susceptible to entanglement as well as many other animals. Penguins and even seals have been documented as being injured or killed by becoming entangled in a balloons ribbon.


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As balloon releases are becoming more and more prevalent in celebrations, memorials and at charity events it is vital now that laws be made to put an end to the deliberate littering of our environment. There are so many other ways to commemorate occasions than something as irresponsible as balloon releases. Even those marked ‘biodregadable’ can take months to years to fragment, during which time they are still rubbish, and still provide risk to wildlife.

Sign petition: Petitioning Minister for the Environment The Hon Greg Hunt MP to Ban Ceremonial Balloon Releases Due To The Negative Impact On Marine And Wildlife.

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Call to the Victorian Government for an urgent review of the culling permit allocation.

Currently, there is LITTLE to NO consideration given to local ANIMAL RESCUE SHELTERS in the area when a license to cull is approved. This effectively means that as a group rescues, rehabilitates and then releases an animal, it can be LEGALLY KILLED the same day by a neighbor with an approved license to cull.

Environmentalists recently slammed a State Government decision to allow the culling of 60 kangaroos on an Otways property next door to a wildlife shelter and a national park.

The Environment, Land, Water and Planning Department issued a permit to “scare, disperse, trap or lethally control” 60 eastern grey kangaroos just weeks after a landowner moved to a Colac-Carlisle Road property.

The property shares a boundary with the long-established Carlisle River Wildlife Shelter and the Great Otway National Park, and previous owners had grazed cattle on the land for about eight years before the new owners bought the property.

This system is DEEPLY FLAWED and all of the power is with the person with the license to cull as there is currently NO dispute process for local residents or local animal rescue shelters to challenge this permit..

Therefore, we call on the Victorian Minister of Agriculture to review the current license allocation system to take into account surrounding properties and local animal rescue shelters when allocating a permit. Further, we request an option to allow local directly affected parties and rescue shelters to dispute the approval of a cull of nominated animals within their immediate vicinity.

“Two rabbits eat the same amount as a kangaroo and a cow with a calf at foot will eat as much as 30 kangaroos; DELWP should be required to explain to the applicant the dietary differences between kangaroos and cattle so that the applicant can be properly informed about the amount of competition for pasture that actually exists,” Wildlife carer Mr Anstis said.

Do they know how many rabbits, or kangaroos, are in Victoria? probably not!

Letter to
The Victorian Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford MP

Sign the Petition to Jaala Pulford, Victoria Agriculture Minister

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Canberra accused of dirty tricks in California

Australia’s ambassador to the US Kim Beazley said in a statement that Australia-California kangaroo trade “is conducted according to science-based wildlife management practices…”

The harvest of kangaroos, for skin and meat in Australia is the largest commercial slaughter of terrestrial wildlife on earth, killing some three million adult kangaroos each year, and up to one million dependent young, (in pouch and out of pouch) brutally dispatched or allowed to slowly die.

The science is based on the underlying assumption that kangaroos are environmental pests, and over-abundant. However, there’s little emerging science to support these views, in open landscapes, or that they competitive with livestock for resources – except in extreme drought situations. Kangaroos are natural grassland managers, having evolved over 40 million years.

Huge wild animal populations, such as bison and the passenger pigeon, were destroyed by commercial harvesting in America.

The Australian native graces the country’s coat of arms and is a major tourism draw, making it a high profile target for animal rights activists who oppose commercial killing.

The harvest of kangaroos undermines the process of Darwin’s natural selection. The larger animals are always targeted as they provide more meat and skin. Already Australia has the highest rate of mammal extinctions.

Australia’s Department of Agriculture confirmed it provided AUS$143,000 to the Kangaroo Industries Association of Australia to help pay U.S. law firm Manatt, Phelps and Phillips to lobby Californian lawmakers against the ban. It means that Australia may have acted illegally because it did not declare financial payments or register as a lobbyist employer.

Kim Beazley’s promotion of the trade in kangaroo parts has nothing to do with science, or sustainability, but about promoting an export purely for money!

Kim Beazley, has warned of painful economic consequences for Australia and California should a ban on the sale of kangaroo parts in America’s largest state economy not be overturned. So fragile is our ailing economy, that body part of kangaroos are vital for the $5.5 billion trade with California, and “we” have helped them fight wildfires – so they are obliged to accept the slaughter of kangaroos?

Petitions and action:

Don’t Lift Ban on Kangaroo Products in California!

Animals Australia, ban kangaroo exports

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Cassowary – the decline of the World’s Most Dangerous Bird

The southern cassowary is the world’s third largest bird. It is one of Australia’s largest land animals and plays a unique role in the ecology of the World Heritage listed rainforests of tropical Australia. They stand between 1.5-2 metres in height and both sexes are similar in appearance. Adults are striking with their glossy black plumage and bright blue neck with touches of red. The female is larger than the male and is also the more aggressive of the two.

If you can see them that means you are too close and should take immediate protection. If you turn your back and run the bird will take that as a sign of weakness and will come after you at 50km ph (30 mph), which is faster than any human can run. The Guinness Book Of Records lists the Cassowary as the most dangerous bird in the world.

In evolutionary terms, the flightless birds (or ratites) were some of the earliest types of birds to develop. The cassowary, emu, rhea, kiwi and ostrich are still around today, but others, like the moas of New Zealand and the elephant bird of Madagascar are now extinct.

Cassowaries are very difficult to study because they lead solitary lives and live in dense tropical rainforest and remote and rugged terrain, so there is still much we don’t know about them.

Until recently, the remaining wild population was thought to be at around 2000. However, new research by the CSIRO estimates that the cassowary population may be more than double that at around 4400.



Queensland government data shows that this year alone at least 10 cassowaries have died because of human involvement. Six were struck by cars and four were killed by dogs.

Rainforest vegetation has been extensively cleared, particularly in lowland areas. By 1997, 81% of native vegetation had been cleared, and remaining rainforest habitat was substantially fragmented.

Roads are a major cause of direct cassowary mortality due to vehicle strikes. Roads can also fragment and degrade cassowary habitat; impose barriers on cassowary movement patterns; and hasten the spread of invasive species.

Property Developers

Land is being cleared by property developers, the precious “Daintree rainforest is for sale on the open market with the guarantee of destruction from property development with DA approval already granted and council approved house plans included with the sale,” says the group. “Rare and endangered species such as southern cassowaries have been identified here”.

Urban Sprawl

Urban sprawl and coastal development along the aptly named Cassowary Coast now threatens the Cassowaries that have survived agricultural land-clearing. There have been in excess of 60 cassowaries killed by cars over the last 20 years in the Mission Beach area alone. Five recent reported deaths in three months attest to this.

Population growth

Cairns and the Far North have been tipped to become home to more than 500,000 people by 2050 – double today’s population. The region is the most populous in Northern Australia with 278,064 people and it is expected to more than double to 550,887 by 2050.

Liz Gallie is the president of Mission Beach Cassowaries says “the cassowary is a keystone species of the rainforest,” and “the current planning scheme would allow Mission Beach’s population to reach 18,000, which is incompatible with the survival of the cassowary. Development is still seen by the local authorities and tourism organisations as the economic driver and is encouraged. It is an oxymoron”.


Save the habitat of Australia’s ancient Cassowaries

ForceChange: Save Rare and Beautiful Cassowaries from Extinction

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Dogs should be banned from wildlife reserves- Hans Brunner

Why Dog Walking should not be allowed in wildlife reserves.

Most people believe that walking dogs in a nature reserve can do no harm to wildlife.

However, at least half of the people do not keep their dog or dogs on a leash. Also, too many people do not pick up their dog’s droppings resulting in unpleasant encounters. These droppings are smelly and unsightly for other visitors. Further more, dogs off leash often causes uneasy encounters for other visitors.

Dogs also spread diseases and parasites into wildlife.

However, by far the biggest problem to wildlife is that while dogs are allowed in these reserves, fox and cat control is virtually impossible for fear that dogs could be trapped or poisoned.

As a result, in the Pines, $120.000 has been spent over a period of four years on fox and cat control but immediately after each trapping session fresh fox and cat foot print could be found.


(featured image: author Hans with a kangaroo mauled and killed by stray dogs, Frankston area)

At the end, the rest of all of the hundreds of the bandicoots in the Pines were eventually lost! And now, as long as dogs are allowed in the Pines and in many other reserves, the re-introduction of lost species is a lost cause.

While still in the Pines, two dogs hunted and killed a wallaby while the owner stood by and applauded them. Another wallaby was also killed by dogs outside Studio Park.

Because of all this, foxes and cats have an almost unrestricted freedom in too many reserves while wildlife has suffered as a consequence and has been drastically reduced. In the Sweetwater Creek Reserve several large colonies of Swamp Rats were lost to fox and cat predation. It has also been established that where dogs are present in bush-land 40 to 60% of native birds will gradually disappear. Adding the additional pressure by foxes and cats has a devastating effect on all the bird-life. One of the most serious problem exists where the ground nesting migratory birds suffer extreme losses of fledglings in the presence of dogs and , subsequently, foxes.

There are at least 33 free run areas for dogs in the Frankston municipality alone. It is therefor high time to get all the dogs out of wildlife reserves. This should also be regarded as a apt penalty because dogs on leash and picking up droppings is not working well enough.


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