Category Archives: Native Animals

Kangaroo Island to “cull” kangaroos?

Environmentalists have raised concerns over the potential culling of kangaroos to accommodate a proposed $14 million golf course and resort on Kangaroo Island.  Contrary to their name, Kangaroo Island plans to have a “cull” of the animals that give the island it’s name!

Programmed Turnpoint, the developer, wants the 18-hole links-style course on Kangaroo Island’s Dudley Peninsula.

Australia’s most famous golfer Greg Norman has been approached regarding the design the 18-hole championship length, Par 72 links-style golf course.

Development plans for a 220ha site on southern side of the island has support from the council and the island’s business lobby.

This developer has listed culling as an option to reduce the high number of western grey kangaroos and Tammar wallabies in the area. This will be done in terms of “management of kangaroos” to restore the balance of native vegetation, despite the fact that the golf course will be manicured grass!

Eco Action Kangaroo Island management group said culling kangaroos would have widespread ramifications for the island’s international reputation and tourist numbers.  International visitors come to Kangaroo Island and expect to see kangaroos, not another golf course.

 “Kangaroo Island without kangaroos is just not Kangaroo Island,” wildlife carer Sue Holman said.


(image: Kangaroo Island kangaroo – South Australia)

In 1997, culling of koalas was proposed as a component of an integrated strategy to manage high density populations on Kangaroo Island, South Australia. So, to “manage” wildlife, they are “culled” and this fixes the problem and removes the animals as well!  It’s a bit like fixing problems in a hospital by removing the patients, or euthanising an animal to “cure” a disease.   It sparked an outrage and ultimately led to a decision at the Commonwealth level that culling will not be considered for management of koalas.

Kangaroo Island residents are opposing the plan but with the usual partnership between councils and developers they will be struggling.  Developers, with deep pockets and economic power to sway councils, don’t like to be told “no” to their plans.  They will enclose and encapsulate their “cull” in environmental terms, and even convince the Council and public that it’s “good” for the environment and “good” for the animals!

Money, sport, development and tourism all are usually disastrous for wildlife, and their habitat.

Provide Feedback to Kangaroo Island Council on your opinion of this oxymoron – a “cull” of kangaroos on Kangaroo Island.


(featured image: Kangaroo Island kangaroos (Macropus fuliginosus fuliginosus), Karatta, Kangaroo Island, South Australia)

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Kangaroos blamed for road kill, and for eating crops

We’re concerned about farmers’ attitude and lack of compassion for kangaroos; that kangaroos are causing accidents and killing people in car accidents… article published in The Age Nov 15, 2105.

This is victim-blaming. What strategies prevent these accidents? There are few wildlife crossings, no continuous, interlinking wildlife corridors in Victoria, no technology to prevent such accidents.

Kangaroos are not killers, but one of the most peaceful and gentle Australian animals. What kills is traffic, speeding vehicles, lack of warning of wildlife on roads, and the Colonial attitude that humans have the RIGHT OF WAY – and any obstructions must be “culled”!

Senior Sergeant Mark Edwards, officer in charge of the Bendigo highway patrol, told The Sunday Age that a lot of the crashes in the area covered by his team directly involved kangaroos. “Collisions with kangaroos, they are certainly higher than I’ve ever seen before,” he said.

This does not mean there are more kangaroos, in Victoria, but more traffic on our roads! According to DELWP the planned population for Victoria by mid century will be 10 million people, which will mean inherently more traffic, urban sprawl, human impacts and more land needed for food production.

One farmer said he regularly saw kangaroos in large numbers on his property. “This year is the worst in my experience,” said the farmer, who did not wish to be named. The experienced farmer said he was running about 10 per cent less sheep than he would otherwise be able to. This translated to about a 10 per cent reduction in profit, in a year when earnings were already affected by the severe dry conditions, he said.

1 Timothy 5:18 (CEB) The scripture says, “Don’t put a muzzle on an ox while it treads grain, and Workers deserve their pay”. In other words, we can take from Nature, but some sacrifice must be made to maintain fairness, and food for wildlife. 

Just how many kangaroos are there in ‘large numbers’? Kangaroos are endemic to Australia, not feral pests. Australia has the world’s highest rate of mammal extinctions…not something of which we can be proud! In fact we fail to protect our world famous, most recognized symbol.


We live in a mega-diverse continent, and farmers need to recognise that some of their resources belong to kangaroos and other native animals. We are an ancient land, and need to live off the Interest that Nature bountifully provides, not take away the Capital.

Some land must be provided for native trees, and wildlife corridors, rather than resentfully deny kangaroos a mere 10% of “profits”. Scripture says we must not “muzzle the oxen while it is treading the grain”. Kangaroos are part of our natural heritage, and should be catered for. They help manage grasslands, grazing on excess grass, helping to prevent bushfires. They also add value to soils and are re-generators of native grasses.

Peter Tuohey, president of the Victorian Farmers Federation, said more action needed to be taken to deal with kangaroos. There must be more wildlife corridors, wildlife crossings, over passes, underpasses on roads, respect, compassion, more technologies to prevent this carnage, not just for people but for all animals.

Why aren’t there sensors, to detect motion on the roads, connected to signs warning drivers? Default solution always seems to be to KILL more kangaroos, rather than address the issue non-lethally. The State government does not know how many kangaroos there are in Victoria, and so much habitat has been taken away, and not replaced with offsets and wildlife corridors!

Farmers call for more action to be taken against kangaroos’ Nov 15, 2015 by Darren Gray

We are asking the  Premier of Victoria, Daniel Andrews, to provide some compassion for kangaroos, as they were here a long time before us!

Kangaroos are the symbol of Australia, and recognised around the world as such. They should be appreciated rather than constantly victimized and demonised.

We respect our Premier and we ask him to show some balance, innovation and leadership in protecting our roads and keeping them safe for humans, kangaroos and other wildlife.

from AWPC Committee

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LONELY AT THE TOP: Meddling in Ecosystems

By Natalie Kyriacou
About the author:
Natalie Kyriacou is the Director of My Green World, an organisation dedicated to the conservation and protection of wildlife and habitats. She has worked on various animal welfare and conservation projects, including an orangutan rehabilitation program in Borneo, an elephant rescue program in Sri Lanka, and a dog sterilisation clinic in Sri Lanka and Australia.
Natalie holds a degree in Journalism and a Masters in International Relations at the University of Melbourne. She is a current appointed member of the Animal Ethics Committee for the Department of Veterinary Sciences at the University of Melbourne.


With somewhat murky ancestral origins and a much maligned reputation in Australia, the dingo has long been considered a polarizing predator; both a cultural icon and livestock pest.

Perhaps no other predator is more deeply embedded in the Australian psyche than the dingo. Its history in Australia has grabbed headlines for more than a century, from the stolen baby in the infamous Azaria Chamberlain case to being the cause for the construction of the legendary Dingo Fence in 1885 to protect grazing lands, the dingo has entrenched itself deeply into the rich fabric of Australian culture.

Bearing a striking resemblance to the domestic dog, the dingo is currently listed as a subspecies of the grey wolf, though its exact ancestry is highly enigmatic and much debated. More recent research suggests that the dingo came to Australia via Southern China, anywhere between 4600 and 18,300 years ago.

Despite its flawed reputation, Australia’s largest terrestrial predator is also a vital component of healthy ecosystems in Australia and an important contributor to environmental recovery and the protection of threatened native species.

Considered one of the most vexing issues facing conservationists and agriculturalists alike, the dingo has haunted the Australian landscape for over 200 years.

The culling of dingoes is commonplace in Australia, and their numbers have fluctuated widely as a result. Government-run programs consenting the dingo cull are active across the country, with methods including poisoning, shooting and using sodium fluoroacetate.

The deadly drama of predators and their prey is often described as a prime example of natural selection in action, however, often overlooked is the role that humans play in these relationships, and how their meddlesome actions within precious ecosystems can have devastating consequences.

Most recently, the dingo has experienced catastrophic decline as a result of human persecution. Such a collapse of top predator populations is associated with dramatic upsurges of smaller predators. Known as the mesopredator theory, this trophic interaction has been witnessed heavily in Australia. Disruption to the number of dingoes has a cascading effect throughout entire ecosystems, initiating a surge of unchecked predation by lower species and an unravelling of bionetworks.

When dingo populations dwindle, foxes, feral cats, and kangaroos grow bolder. Foxes and cats eat large quantities of small mammals, while kangaroos destroy vegetation which smaller marsupials live in, leading to an equally controversial kangaroo cull.

Thus, the crucial role of the apex predator is undermined frequently. The story of the dingo is not unique. The apex predator has been continually persecuted throughout the world, and the results are almost always the same.

The impact that unregulated mesopredators have on ecosystems is something which has only recently been recognised. In 2006, scientists from James Cook University and Australian National University published a report in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, tracking the geographical relationship between dingoes, threatened species, and now-extinct species.
Their research suggests that dingoes actually aid the survival of smaller, more vulnerable species in Australia, and their presence is actually associated with the persistence of native Australian animals. By suppressing populations of introduced predators and larger herbivores, the dingo actually reduced the threat to native species. The study found that in areas where dingoes had been removed, most of the native mammal extinctions had occurred.

This complex ecological dynamic has been largely overlooked in Australia, and the war on dingoes has continued to rage, compromising their genetic strain, causing many dingo subspecies to fall extinct, and dooming much of Australia’s biodiversity.

If the dingo was entirely eliminated from Australia, then prey species would doubtlessly suffer. The dingo is not only a keystone species protecting mammal biodiversity in Australia, but it is the most significant constraint on the harmful potential of exotic predators. The notion that we must so thoroughly regulate and intervene in the wild is highly alarming, and the devastating impact it has on natural ecosystems is already being felt around the world.

Natalie Kyriacou

Featured image: “Dingo Perth Zoo SMC Sept 2005”. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

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Magpies, kookaburras and willie wagtails among common Australian birds ‘starting to disappear’,

Magpies, laughing kookaburras and willie wagtails are on the decline in some regions, a report tracking the health of Australia’s bird populations has found.  Birdlife Australia, analysed data collected in more than 400,000 surveys across the country, the majority done by bird-loving volunteers.  The State of Australia’s Birds Report states that while predators including cats, habitat loss and even changes in climate might be to blame, more research was needed before certain species became endangered.  Habitat loss and changes are polite euphemisms for human destruction, such as land clearing and degradation for mining, logging, industries and urbanization!

(image: “Poser (543749091)” by aussiegall from Sydney, Australia – PoserUploaded by russavia. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons)

Sightings of kookaburras have decreased at a rate of 40 per cent across south-eastern Australia. Magpies have declined significantly on the east coast, a new report shows. The Eastern curlew, a migratory shorebird that has recently been declared critically endangered.

Editor of Australian Birdlife Sean Dooley said the decline of common birds in parts of Australia was a surprise to researchers.

Numbats, malas, bandicoots and bettongs are among the mammals the Federal Government’s identified in its new Threatened Species Strategy. The birds include the mallee emu-wren and Norfolk Island boobook owl.

The Environment Minister Greg Hunt says feral cats are a serious threat to native species and that he wants the feral animals eradicated from five islands and 10 mainland enclosures within five years. Hunt has also set a target of 10 new cat-free enclosures on mainland Australia by 2020.

Dr Euan Ritchie is with Deakin University. He wants native predators like dingoes and Tasmanian devils reintroduced, as a natural way of culling foxes and cats. This is an enlightened approach to the status of Dingoes that have been vilified and trapped over decades as a threat to livestock! He also wants Tasmanian devils back to the mainland.

Ms Jane Nathan says in The Age 16 July 2015 that Melbourne is headed for eight million by 2050, and goes on to describe what it will be like in the most wildly optimistic tones imaginable. She says “our social harmony, kaleidoscopic culture, clean food, innovative education systems and greatly reduced crime rates are the envy of the world. Our neighbourhoods are artistic, green and pristine”.

According to MP Kelvin Thomson, in the Federal seat of Wills, it “Sounds like paradise. The problem is, there is no evidence to support it…And as for green and pristine, just this week it was reported that even common Australian birds, like the Willy Wagtail and the Kookaburra, were being sighted much less frequently. The reason for this is that the streets of mature gardens that used to give our birds food and shelter have been replaced by multi-unit developments and high rise. The vegetation has been destroyed, and the birds have died out”.

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Major plan launched to avert species extinction

The country’s flora and fauna draws millions of tourists from around the world. But scientists say Australia’s native species are under threat of extinction.

20 per cent of mammals and many more plant species are under threat. And scientists fear much of the country’s unique flora and fauna may not be around for future generations. Habitat loss, hunting and changes in fire regimes have contributed to the decline, with invasive species considered a primary ongoing threat.

A major bush conservation plan has been launched to help save native animals and plants under threat of extinction.

For example, Queensland School of Agriculture and Food Sciences Ecology Lecturer and PhD candidate Rebecca Diete said population estimates of some of Australia’s most elusive native animals often relied on indirect and potentially inaccurate measures. A tiny mammal, the endangered hopping mouse, could be closer to the brink of extinction than previously thought. Diete found that population estimates have relied on counting spoil heaps – the piles of sand left behind when the mouse digs burrows. However, she discovered that some spoil heaps believed to belong to the northern hopping mouse were made by a different animal – the delicate mouse (Pseudomys delicatulus). “Estimates of hopping mouse numbers made only from spoil heap assessments could be much higher than the reality,” she said.

Bush Heritage Science Plan

Since 1991, Bush Heritage Australia has applied a proven, practical approach to conserving Australia’s environment and unique plants and animals. One in five of Australia’s surviving mammals and 12% of Australia’s birds are now threatened with extinction. There remains an estimated shortfall of 70 million hectares of habitat across Australia (WWF, 2013) to secure a comprehensive, adequate and representative national reserve system.

Download from Bush Heritage Australia website.

This alone will not be enough. BHA believe we also require more effective management in need of protection of the extensive and pervasive threats impacting the viability of native animals, plants and ecosystems.

This ten-year Science Plan aims to build sustainable research partnerships in each state and territory and double the number of collaborative research projects we undertake by 2025. Their research will be focused on six flagship research themes, each pivotal to our work, and which address key biodiversity conservation issues in Australia.

African lovegrass is a weed which dominates the heavily cultivated soils of Scottsdale Reserve, a former grazing property 75 kilometres south of Canberra. Few trees have survived decades of farming. Instead it’s the introduced thistles with their dried, discoloured flowers which stand tall.

In some countries African lovegrass is regarded as valuable for animal production and soil conservation but in others, such as Australia, it is regarded as a weed due to its low feed quality and acceptance by livestock.

Bush Heritage Australia started rehabilitating the land after purchasing the 1328-hectare property in 2006. Scottsdale Reserve was the launch site (8th April, 2015) for an ambitious project to study the reasons behind Australia’s massive rate of biodiversity loss. Australian National University ecologist Dr David Freudenberger is among 50 scientists collaborating on the project. “Scottsdale Reserve is a living classroom for my students, at understanding the challenges of restoring the grassy woodland,” he said.

The existing long-term research project on Scottsdale Reserve involves restoring grassy eucalypt woodlands. They engaged 500 volunteers, who hand-planted native shrubs and trees in one of the largest woodland restoration efforts in the nation.

scottsdale-planting(image:Scottsdale Reserve planting)

Dr Jim Radford, science and research manager at Bush Heritage Australia said native mammals, such as bilbies, bettongs, bandicoots and gliders, are in an “absolutely dire” situation. One key priority is adding up to 70 million extra hectares to Australia’s national parks and reserve system.

Rufus_bettong(image: Rufus Bettong)

Research Themes

Research theme 1: Landscape connectivity

Research theme 2: Threatened species

Research theme 3: Habitat refugia

Research theme 4: Fire ecology

Research theme 5: Restoration evaluation

Research theme 6: Introduced species/feral animals

The Bush Heritage Science Plan aims to double their science and research output by 2025 through building sustainable long-term research partnerships and doubling the number of collaborative research projects they undertake. Funding will be through scholarships, grants and internships. As part of the plan, 50 scientists from 15 universities across the country will collaborate on 55 conservation projects, and they hope to raise $20 million to fund it.

$20 million in Treasury terms is very small, and is minute compared to infrastructure spending on our own habitats, and what’s spent to propagate our own species! Donating and participating in this Science Plan is an investment into our natural heritage, and ensure that future generations are condemned to only seeing once common native species in museums, or in zoos!

Donate to Bush Heritage Australia:

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Mornington Peninsula Council – urged to protect ducks from busy roads

It has come to our attention that there is extensive harm and death caused to ducks and ducklings that reside in the Mt Eliza area.

As well as other animals and especially birds.

Yet again few days ago, we laid to rest a father duck who was either hit by a car/cyclist/ and left to die on my footpath.

His body was still warm as his feathers gently peeled off his body as I held him safe in my arms.

We have given him a respectful burial as he deserves.  The father duck was not dissimilar to this duck pictured.


We need Ducks Crossing signs erected in a number of locations.

On my road, and property for example, we have at least 4 families of ducks and 8 ducklings each, roaming, that are constantly crossing the road, resting on the footpaths etc.

The cars are known to ‘fly’ around the bend on the highest point of Fulton road, yet the council km signage has not deterred motorists and cyclists from slowing down.

As a result of the lack of animal crossing signs, there are constant deceased animals/ducks/birds eg magpies.

Lorikeets that are being killed and left on the roads, only to be run over and over and over by the rushing motorists.  On a daily basis in Mt Eliza I pull over and pick up the dead animals/birds and give them a humane burial.

It is horrible that many drivers and local residents are blinded by the vision of dead animals being driven over.

And especially as these animals and birds are otherwise often kept as pets, or promoted as Australia’s special wildlife.  They are not treated as special when they are killed on the roads and left to die.

I request that signage be erected on known areas where ducks/animals/birds congregate asap to stop this unnecessary act of cruelty and neglect.

I appreciate your urgent reply at your earliest convenience,

Kind regards,

Paris Yves Read

Mt Eliza




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