Category Archives: Planning Permit

ACT Roo killings: Who profits? Behind the Earless Dragon mask

Human Population growth impacts on wildlife

The endangered Earless Dragon is being used to justify killing thousands of Eastern Gray kangaroos in Belconnen and Majura, but the motive is really developers’ profit. As grasslands are turned into building sites, as human population growth is encouraged.. Kangaroos are in the way, as is democracy, so both are being buried.

When an Earless Dragon is like a smoking gun we should ask who fired the gun.

Did the ACT government organize the mass killing of thousands of Eastern Grey kangaroos in Belconnen and Majura, near Canberra, in a sudden uncharacteristic and galvanic effort to save the endangered Earless Dragon?

Thousands of Eastern Grey kangaroos have recently been shot and bulldozed into pits in Belconnen and Majura, [1] Australian Capital Territory (ACT), in fatal massive round-ups which have not been seen since early last century. In a torrent of official reports and statements, scientists and politicians have fingered the Eastern Grey Kangaroo for overgrazing rare grasslands and thus threatening their other inhabitants, notably the endangered Earless Dragon.

Who would have thought that the little Earless Dragon had such powerful friends in government, planning, universities and business – even the Canberra International Airport? [2] The Grasslands Earless Dragon doesn’t pay taxes and doesn’t directly contribute to political fundraisers, but it is often associated with grants and development programs these days.

Were these culls really for the benefit of the Earless Dragon? Or was the Earless Dragon only an excuse for this macropod massacre, in which case, what was the real motive?

Although these planned culls aroused public ire and many questions, formal responses were highly selective. Many questions about the Belconnen cull went unanswered and remain unanswered. When the Majura cull came up on the agenda, the same angry questions received the same infuriating non-responses.



The public and the kangaroos deserve much better.

It was so difficult to make sense of what was happening. Could the whole thing actually be as cruel and stupid as the kangaroo-cull protesters claimed? Or were the protesters really childish people who could not accept the obvious need to put some animals which had ‘bred like rabbits’ out of their misery?

After all, the Royal Society for the Protection of Animals (RSPCA) had given its seal of approval. That meant it must be okay, right? Right?

My own preoccupation over the months intervening between the Belconnen and the Majura kills had been to ascertain what population theory was used to arrive at the diagnosis of overpopulation or to assert that there should be only one kangaroo per hectare. My search failed. This question has now become one of whether there was any population theory at all.

A theory of how kangaroo populations behave is necessary for any outsider to be able to test the validity of the judgement that the Majura Roos or the Belconnen Roos or any other roos were overpopulating and needed ‘culling’. Saying that there should be one per hectare or that they may die of starvation are remarks which, on their own, do not justify culls.

I was amazed that official reports did not begin with a description of how kangaroo populations were thought to operate, how this theory had been tested and the populations measured. In an effort to find out if any real theory and application had taken place, I attempted to contact officials and scientists involved in kangaroo management programs of one sort or another. No population theory of any kind, whether or not demonstrating lemming-like multiplication tendencies in kangaroos, has yet surfaced as a reasonable basis of the culling of the Belconnen or Majura roos.

What did emerge was that there was an overtly declared perception of conflict between human activities and the presence of kangaroos in grazing and a less overtly acknowledged conflict between land-use intensification in urban development, such as roads and new suburbs, accompanying the promotion of radical human population growth policies in the ACT. (See, for instance, this description of planned expansion and intensification in the area.)


Dr Fletcher’s thesis oddly at odds with Canberra culls

One scientist who was closely associated with the Belconnen cull and the Majura cull, was Don Fletcher. Fletcher is the Senior Ecologist in Research and Monitoring in Parks, Conservation and Lands, Department of Territory and Municipal Services, ACT. His involvement in the Belconnen Roo cull seems to have been officially limited to capturing then releasing female survivors after inserting contraceptives in them. He was one of the writers of the public consultation document leading up to the Majura cull.

He defended these culls and has defended the assessments leading up to the Majura culls in a public consultation document. Yet his own thesis on the “Population Dynamics of Eastern Grey Kangaroos in Temperate Grasslands,” (pdf 4.27mb) seemed to discredit claims at the basis of these culls, which were too high population density and a need to manage it down to one kangaroo per hectare. For instance, he wrote on page 237 of his study that :

“The study did not provide evidence that high densities of kangaroos reduce groundcover to the levels where erosion can accelerate. Unmanaged kangaroo populations did not necessarily result in low levels of ground cover. Groundcover had a positive but not significant relationship to kangaroo density, with the highest cover at the wettest site where kangaroo density was highest. Weather has an important influence on groundcover.” [3]

He also wrote that some of the populations he was studying were at the highest density recorded. They ranged between 4.5 and 5.1 kangaroos per hectare. The density in the studies below was expressed in square kilometers. To get density per hectare, divide by 100. [4] Fletcher wrote:

“The kangaroo density estimates reported in Chapter 7 for the three study sites (mean eastern grey kangaroo densities of 450, 480 and 510 km2) are the highest kangaroo densities reported. For comparison, the maximum density of combined red kangaroos and western grey kangaroos in the Kinchega study was less than 56 km2 (Bayliss 1987) and the density of eastern grey kangaroos at Wallaby Creek (Southwell 1987b) was 41 to 50 km2. The next highest kangaroo density outside the vicinity of my study sites appears to be that of Coulson et al. (1999a) for eastern grey kangaroos at Yan Yean Reservoir near Melbourne, which was 220 km2.”

Coulson’s study of kangaroos at 2.2 per ha was published in 1999 as Coulson G, Alviano P, Ramp P, Way S “The kangaroos of Yan Yean: history of a problem population”. [5] Graham Coulson’s Yan Yean article is frequently cited by kangaroo population students and he seems to be thought of as the originator of the “one kangaroo per kilometer” ‘rule’.

I did contact Dr Fletcher by email, and he was initially quite friendly, but when I attempted to ask him questions about his thesis responses to my emails ceased, even though I re-sent the emails.
For every assertion a contradictory one remains unanswered

The ACT Kangaroo Advisory Committee Report No.1 (issued prior to the Majura cull) reported conflict between kangaroos and the rural community which uses 23% of the ACT.

“A key issue for rural lessees is the conflict between kangaroo grazing and pasture and fodder crop production.”
(ACT Kangaroo Advisory Committee Report No.1. )

It stated as fact anecdotal reports that kangaroo populations ballooned due to man-made pasture improvements.

“There is general consensus that, in other parts of Australia at least, land clearing and swamp drainage to extend areas for introduced pasture, together with the increase in the number of farm dams has improved habitat for Eastern Grey Kangaroos and some other macropods, leading to increased numbers.”

But these anecdotal reports are very selective and easily countered by others, for instance in Dr John Auty’s comprehensive review of original documents forming the history of kangaroo populations from the time of European settlement in Australia. See “Red Plague Grey Plague – Kangaroo [numbers] myths and legends”

Other ACT researchers have also questioned the logistical principle of blaming kangaroos for human pressures on the environment, i.e. why blame kangaroos when we know that the damage is outstandingly done by sheep and cattle? In the Olsen and Low report case cited below the researchers are talking about farming, but they could just as much be talking about new suburbs, i.e. why blame kangaroos when the damage is obviously being done by human population growth, accompanying infrastructure and housing development (roads and suburbs), and human activities (driving cars, growing lawns, shopping, expansion of production, etc.)?

The discontinuation of damage mitigation as grounds for harvesting is in many ways a more honest approach to kangaroo management given that damage is difficult to monitor, predict and even to prove empirically to be an issue. It also removes the implication that kangaroos are pests.

However, some landholders still perceive damage mitigation to be the main reason for harvesting and continue to call for greater quotas, mainly during the recent years of low rainfall. Arguably, this is a socio-economic problem rather than an ecological one. Certainly, the issue of land degradation will never be redressed by simple reduction in kangaroo numbers when there is no concomitant control of sheep and other introduced herbivore grazing impacts.” Olsen and Low Report. [6]

Is the real conflict over the grasslands between developers and kangaroos rather than kangaroos and earless dragons?

Fletcher, in his thesis, describes Kangaroo density in the ACT as having “increased more rapidly from 1996 to 2000 after sheep and cattle grazing had ended.” [7] Sheep and cattle had been allowed to graze in the threatened grasslands. In some cases they have even been returned to the areas where kangaroos have been ‘euthanazed’ to protect those fragile grasslands.

The question asked here should not be whether the kangaroo density increased to take up pasture vacated by sheep and or cattle. The real question should be: Did such a reduction in sheep and cattle grazing then bring the unfortunate kangaroos into conflict with urban developers over the rezoning of agricultural land for rural use?

In fact, if we drop the non-issue of kangaroo numbers, the relevance of developer-ambition conflicting with retaining grasslands for any indigenous animals becomes obvious.

Kangaroos graze there, which is obviously better than sheep and cattle grazing there, but property developers want to raise far more lucrative crops of humans there by building roads and houses where kangaroos now graze, along with earless dragons.

Unfortunately the government is encouraging developers. Maxine Cooper, Commissioner for Sustainability, in her report on ACT Lowland Native Grassland Investigation, says that the “ACT is fortunate in being in a strong position to be able to advance the protection of lowland native grassland, in particular Natural Temperate Grassland communities and the species it supports,” … BUT… [she adds]:

“Protecting lowland native grassland from development is also a challenge as these areas, being generally flat to gently undulating with no trees, are often prime potential development sites. Much of Canberra’s development is on lands that were once lowland native grassland.” Maxine Cooper Report, p. v.

“Development that potentially affects lowland native grassland is either underway or planned for the ACT (see Section 5). This development has the potential to sever corridor and connectivity between grasslands and woodlands and/or other adjacent habitats. Many of the recommendations presented in this report reinforce the importance of connectivity.” Maxine Cooper Report, pp 74-75,

Now most of the competition with kangaroos is from property development. Stimulating property development is government policy and the means of stimulus is a policy to encourage interstate immigration and natural increase through baby bonuses.

This government decision to stimulate human population growth in the ACT and to expand development in the ACT causes pressure on the local kangaroo population and the population of the Earless Dragon in the ACT.

Grave failure of public education and democracy

The commercially-based decisions about human population policy which cause these pressures, however, are kept entirely out of official calculations, negotiations, and rationales pertaining to kangaroo culls and definitions of kangaroo overpopulation in Belconnen and Majura, ACT. This omission means that the public do not have the information to hold the government responsible where it should be held responsible, nor to question the costs of its policies. This represents a grave failure of public education and democracy.

Oddly, Maxine Cooper, in her “Report on ACT Lowland Native Grassland Investigation,” 12 March 2009, mentions and notes the threat to the grasslands from development, yet she does not factor this logically into the reasonableness of blaming and killing kangaroos.

Instead, she uncritically accepts the illogical explanations which she is provided with about kangaroos. She even provides further faulty measures of kangaroo population densities by rate of car-kangaroo collisions.

“The 2007–08 State of the Environment report states that motor vehicle accidents involving kangaroos has increased by 38% (from 563 in 2005–06 to 777 in 2006–07). Rangers have advised that they now attend more than 1,000 roadside kangaroo incidents per year in Canberra.” [8]

Although Maxine is aware that the building of roads and suburbs is impacting the grasslands, she does not stop to think that these are also impacting the kangaroos through an increasing rate of driving them out of their habitats and onto the roads to make way for houses.

If, however, commercial development pressure were properly assessed, then its role as the primary population impact on the grasslands and the cause of ACT policies to depopulate kangaroos would become obvious and the government would no longer be able to deflect criticism of overdevelopment and cruelty to kangaroos.

Who profits? When an Earless Dragon is like a smoking gun we should ask who fired the gun.

What of the Earless Dragon in all this? Small and scarce, it is not hard to imagine it fitting into a developer’s pocket-size native-style garden. You could even imagine thirty-something refugees from housing prices in Sydney and Singapore cultivating it in garden pots in new high-rises. Imagine is the key, since who would check up?

Pardon me for being skeptical, but the high profile of the Earless Dragon makes me think of advice to writers about mentioning loaded guns in detective stories. If there is a gun it is there to shoot a victim for a motive. The huge importance suddenly given to the humble Earless Dragon bespeaks a greater purpose than the self-evident worth of its own preservation.
Cherchez le maccabe. [Find the cadaver.] The Dragon is the weapon to get rid of the much-loved kangaroos. There can be no argument there, for we hear little else but how the kangaroos are threatening this little animal. Once the kangaroos are gone, the tiny Dragon’s profile will almost certainly sink back to the level which escapes most humans’ notice, unreported by the mainstream press.

Let us ask the ever-useful sociological question here. Who benefits? Developers and their friends do.

Let justice be done

You wouldn’t think it from listening to politicians, but I have it from a reliable source that, in the ACT, the biggest source of public complaint is cruelty to animals. People should realize that they are not alone in their horror at the cruelty entailed by all this unwanted (except by its few focused beneficiaries) and costly population growth and development. The Earless Dragon has been deployed with the effect of sowing paralysing confusion among nature groups by implying an ungenerous bias for furry kangaroos against ugly dragons.

”To save the beauty, or the beast; that is the question”

Eastern grey kangaroos are among the most appealing of mammals (Figure 12), while Ginninderra Lepidium, Grassland Earless Dragons, Coorooboorama Raspy Crickets (Figure 4), Striped legless Lizards, Perunga Grasshoppers (Figure5), Golden Sun Moths (Figure5), and other grassland-dependent plants and animals, are all ugly. Well that may be one opinion, but if so, it is irrelevant. Governments are legally and morally obliged to protect each species. Beauty is not a consideration.” ”A Pictorial Guide to the Kangaroo Culling Issue, Dept of Territorial and Municipal Services, ACT Government” [ 9]

This has the hallmarks of a straw man argument.

Let the community be heard as it rises to save the grasslands and return them to their rightful management by kangaroos and Earless Dragons. Let due opprobrium be publicly dealt the Growth Lobby by exposing its greed and cowardice in orchestrating the cold-blooded execution of thousands of living, breathing, social creatures for economic and ecological crimes they could never have committed, merely to defend its exceedingly narrow and debt-ridden interests. Let us sheet home to the Growth Lobby and its minions in government the depravity with which they attempt to corrupt our wider society. We are not cruel or injust. We do not support cruelty and injustice.

It seems amazing that Maxine Cooper can support a kangaroo cull when she also writes that the Majura Valley grassland is “arguably one of the largest areas of Natural Temperate Grassland remaining in southeast Australia” but that it has no long-term planning protection and there is no commitment for any, and that to protect it by defining it as a reserve would

“[…]constrain future development options, for example, the potential Canberra International Airport northern link road and the potential east-west Kowen road [… and] would also ensure that the Natural Temperate Grassland, the Grassland Earless Dragon and other threatened species are not adversely affected through incremental developments, as would be the case if the potential Canberra International Airport northern link road and the potential east-west Kowen road were to be progressed according to existing concept plans.” [10]

In other words, Maxine Cooper is aware that plans for several new roads and urban expansion are planned for the Majura grasslands and sees that it will be necessary to curb this development to protect the grasslands. [11]

Some of Cooper’s other recommendations (apart from those which promote the culling of kangaroos on illogical grounds) are good. I provide these in the appendix to this article.

Earless Dragon scarcity previously coincided with kangaroo scarcity in ACT

Don Fletcher, in “Population Dynamics of Eastern Grey Kangaroos in Temperate Grasslands,” describes how, in the 1940s and 1950s kangaroos actually became rare in the ACT due to competition by European grazing stock. Even when these stock were removed, they remained rare for some time. Salt blocks were put out in the 1960s to attract kangaroos to the Tidbinbilla Fauna Reserve, where in 1963 employees went for three months without seeing one.) [12]

Oddly, at the same time as kangaroos were banished from the ACT, the Earless Dragon also became scarce. It couldn’t have been because of too many kangaroos.

“The Grassland Earless Dragon was very common in the ACT up to the 1930s but there are now very few left. This is mainly because there are so few areas of its native grassland habitat remaining. There are now only two main populations known in the ACT; and there is one near Cooma in NSW.” Source: The ACT Conservation Council,
[13 ]

Note that the Earless Dragon was also found in 2001 in Mount Tyson on Queensland’s Darling Downs. [14]
APPENDIX: Maxine Cooper, in her “Report on ACT Lowland Native Grassland Investigation,” 12 March 2009

Recommendation 23: Plan a Majura Valley Reserve to protect Natural Temperate Grassland and its supporting species, particularly the Grassland Earless Dragon, by defining the boundaries of this proposed reserve in the near future.”

“Findings that informed Recommendation 27
During the investigation, the Commissioner’s Office found it difficult to identify the location of lowland native grassland sites relative to planning zones that guide land use. To help the community and developers gain information on grassland sites relative to planning zones it is recommended that a map of the location of lowland native grassland sites relative to planning zones be published.

Recommendation 27: Publish a map that shows the location of lowland native grassland sites relative to planning zones. This should be readily available through the ACT Planning and Land Authority and the Department of Territory and Municipal Services.” Source: Maxine Cooper, Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment, “Report on ACT Lowland Native Grassland Investigation,” 12 March 2009, pp 73-74

In terms of biodiversity conservation, the ideal approach is to establish a series of conservation reserves (which may include voluntary schemes) that are of sufficient size and biodiversity to maintain a full range of ecological communities (and hence species) on a long-term basis. It is also desirable for such reserves to be located to enable connectivity for animal movement and other interactions between them. 125
The natural connections between grasslands and adjoining woodlands have mostly been severed, but should be retained where they still exist.

Important grassland sites for connectivity between woodland and grassland are at:

• Mount Ainslie Nature Reserve and Campbell Park (MA05)
• ‘Callum Brae’ (JE02)
• Jerrabomberra West Reserve (JE03) and woodland to the west
• Gungaderra Nature Reserve (GU02) and Gungahlin Hill
• Aranda Bushland and Caswell Drive (BE10)
• Majura Valley at the Majura Training Area (MA01).

Important grassland sites for connectivity between grasslands are at:

• Campbell Park (MA05) and Majura West (MA06)
• adjacent grassland on either side of the ACT and New South Wales border via Harman Bonshaw North (JE06) and Harman Bonshaw South (JE07), Jerrabomberra East Reserve (JE05), Woods Lane (JE06), and Queanbeyan Nature Reserve (Letchworth, New SouthWales)
• adjacent grassland between the Canberra International Airport (MA03) the Majura
Training Area (MA01) and ‘Malcolm Vale’ (MA04). Pp. 74-75


[1] “Majura roo cull targets 6000, Canberra Times, 2 May 2009, and
Victor Violante, “Roo cull under way: 2000 shot”, Canberra Times, 9/05/2009,
“About 2000 eastern grey kangaroos at the Department of Defence’s Majura Training Area have been culled this week, with a further 4000 expected to be shot. Defence confirmed yesterday that culling had begun on Tuesday and contractors doing the cull had already achieved about a third of their target.
Defence spokesman Brigadier Brian Dawson said there were about 9000 eastern grey kangaroos on the Defence-owned site, and they would reduce the population to the ”sustainable level”, a density of one per hectare. This would reduce the population to about 3000.
‘The cull is being conducted humanely by licensed and experienced professional contractors,” Brigadier Dawson said yesterday.’”

[2] Kangaroos Threaten One Of Australia’s Last Remaining Original Grasslands, And Endangered Animals ( 080521114923.htm) “The eastern grey kangaroo (Macropus giganteus) has always been part of the cityscape of Canberra, also known as the “bush capital” of Australia. But even Leipzig-based scientist Dr Marion Höhn and Anett Richter of the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) are surprised by the high numbers of them. In her doctoral thesis, Anett Richter is investigating how selected invertebrate species such as ground beetles are affected by landscape fragmentation and habitat alteration in natural grasslands in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). Yet during her fieldwork she discovered that there were far fewer of them than expected.
What she found instead were dry grasslands, grazed bare and scarred by the worst drought to hit Australia in a century. Particularly, she was surprised to find large quantities of kangaroo dung, especially in the enclosed military areas: “The results of the fragmentation studies are not yet available. But we assume that there is a relationship on individual sites between the extremely high density of kangaroos and species diversity among the invertebrates – especially in times of severe drought.”

In Peter Robertson & Murray Evans, /files/earless-dragon-management-2009-tympanocryptis-pinguicolla.pdf National Recovery Plan for the Grassland Earless Dragon Tympanocryptis pinguicolla, published by the ACT Department of Territory and Municipal Services, Canberra, 2009: the Canberra International Airport is listed as responsible for the management of earless dragon habitat at the airport (p.9); as possibly relatedly suffering economic impacts (p.12); as supporting ongoing studies p.19.

The Airport legal framework for protecting dragon habitat, including land management agreements and conservation directions, is outlined in section A5.1, p.4:

“Development at the Canberra Airport requires approval for Major Development Plans (MDP) (defined under the Airports Act 1996) from the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government (Infrastructure Minister). The Infrastructure Minister, under Section 160(2)(c) of the EPBC Act, must obtain and consider advice from the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts (Environment Minister). Although an approval may be given by the Infrastructure Minister for a MDP, a permit from the Environment Minister under Section 201 of the EPBC
Act to move, take or kill is required to harm a Grassland Earless Dragon or its habitat. In issuing such a permit the Environment Minister must be satisfied that the action will not have an adverse impact and will contribute significantly to the conservation of the species.”

[3] Don Fletcher, “Population Dynamics of Eastern Grey Kangaroos in Temperate Grasslands,” was on line as a pdf, which is the form I downloaded it as. A copy is preserved now under this article, linked here: /files/Fletcher-kangaroo-thesis.pdf because the pdf is now of limited availability, although copies are still at the University of Canberra Library, reference: A book by the same title and author has also been published.
[4] There are 100 ha in one square km. So if density varied between 450 and 510 kangs per square km, then that is 4.5 p ha or 5.10 per ha. With 220 per square km 2.2 per ha.
[5] Coulson G, Alviano P, Ramp P, Way S (1999). “The kangaroos of Yan Yean: history of a problem population”, Proc R Soc Vic 111: 121–130.
[6] Penny Olsen and Tim Low, “Situation Analysis Report Update on Current State of Scientific Knowledge on Kangaroos in the Environment, Including Ecological and Economic Impact and Effect of Culling”, School of Botany and Zoology, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 0200
26 Henry Street, Chapel Hill, Queensland 4049, Prepared for the Kangaroo Management Advisory Panel, March 2006
[7] Don Fletcher, “Population Dynamics of Eastern Grey Kangaroos in Temperate Grasslands”, p.40
[8] In Note 11: “The 2007–08 State of the Environment report states that motor vehicle accidents involving kangaroos has increased by 38% (from 563 in 2005–06 to 777 in 2006–07). Rangers have advised that they now attend more than 1,000 roadside kangaroo incidents per year in Canberra.” Although Maxine is aware that the building of roads and suburbs is impacting the grasslands, she does not stop to think that these are also impacting the kangaroos through an increasing rate of driving them out of their habitats and on to the roads. Nor does Don Fletcher, in his thesis, where he accepts reports on increasing rates of car collisions with kangaroos in Victoria, also a state with a population growth policy which manifests in rapid population growth and development and rapid depletion of kangaroo habitat.
[9] A Pictorial Guide to the Kangaroo Culling Issue (2006) from the ACT Department of Territorial and Administrative Services.

[10] Maxine Cooper Report, pp. xv-xvi
[11] Maxine Cooper Report, pp.74-75 and pp xv-xvi:

“Development that potentially affects lowland native grassland is either underway or planned for the ACT (see Section 5). This development has the potential to sever corridor and connectivity between grasslands and woodlands and/or other adjacent habitats. Many of the recommendations presented in this report reinforce the importance of connectivity.”
pp 74-75

“Majura Valley’s large, intact lowland native grassland area, which consists of a number of sites under the control of various government agencies, does not have long-term planning protection; it is not in a reserve and there is no commitment for this to occur.

Given the significance of the Majura Valley grassland, arguably one of the largest areas of Natural Temperate Grassland remaining in southeast Australia, the presence of five threatened species including the Grassland Earless Dragon, it is strongly recommended that a commitment be made to create a reserve in this locality.” [xv-xvi]

[…]defining the site of the proposed Majura Valley reserve would constrain future
development options, for example, the potential Canberra International Airport northern link road and the potential east-west Kowen road, it would provide a more certain context for potential developments. It would also ensure that the Natural Temperate Grassland, the Grassland Earless Dragon and other threatened species are not adversely affected through incremental developments, as would be the case if the potential Canberra International Airport northern link road and the potential east-west Kowen road were to be progressed according to existing concept plans. [xv-xvi]

The lands for the proposed reserve could be the subject of a formal conservation agreement between the ACT and Australian governments.”
[12] Don Fletcher, “Population Dynamics of Eastern Grey Kangaroos in Temperate Grasslands”: “3.3 History of eastern grey kangaroo populations on the sites
All three sites had been grazed commercially for 50 – 150 years until withdrawn in recent decades for conservation or water supply purposes. Each site supported an unmanaged population of eastern grey kangaroos, which was at high density. Kangaroos were scarce in the ACT region in the 1940s and 1950s (Schumack 1977; ACT Kangaroo Advisory Committee 1996, p. 9). This included the study sites. The first employees in the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve lived there for three months in 1963 before seeing a kangaroo (Mick McMahon, former employee, personal communication; ACT Kangaroo Advisory Committee 1996) and salt blocks were put out to attract kangaroos in the years before the reserve was opened to the public (ACT government official file: Tidbinbilla Fauna Reserve Advisory Committee – 1966).”
[13] Source: The ACT Conservation Council description of the Grassland Earless Dragon – Typanocryptis pinguicolla.
[14] Mt Tyson’s Grassland Earless Dragon: not extinct after all
“Chocolate bilbies are facing stiff market competition from the Grassland Earless Dragon in Mount Tyson on Queensland’s Darling Downs. GED (as the Grassland Earless Dragon is affectionately known) was thought to be extinct, but was rediscovered in 2001. An adult GED grows to around 12 centimetres long and has spotted spiky skin which makes it a camouflage specialist. […] The Landcare Group has received more than $7,000 from the Australian Government to fund a variety of activities designed to promote awareness of GED and create a conservation management strategy for the species. […] The Group had previously received funding through a State Government Community Natural Resource Awareness Activity Grant, which they used to commission the chocolate mould that was provided to manufacture the chocolate dragons. Support has also been provided by local businesses such as Ergon Energy in Toowoomba and by the Queensland Museum and the University of Queensland Gatton campus.”

Original article

Article by Sheila Newman, an environmental sociologist, editor of articles on energy, population, land-use planning and resources. She co-edited the 2005 edition of The Final Energy Crisis, Pluto, UK. Her blog is at
She also makes environmental and sociological films, including a series on wildlife corridors and kangaroo populations.

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Baird government ‘declares open season’ on native animals Contacts – Please write and oppose this proposed law

A licence to kill native animals has been labelled “red tape” by the Baird government and will be abolished, prompting warnings the move will declare “open season” on kangaroos, emus, wombats and cockatoos. He may have been celebrated for ending the cruelty of greyhound racing, but there’s no such consideration for native animals – they are just “red tape” to be eliminated!
The Office of Environment and Heritage  issued permits for 34 species, or a total of 145,550 animals and birds to be killed in 2015-16. This included more than 100,000 eastern grey kangaroos, almost 9000 corellas, 6500 sulphur crested cockatoos, 5500 galahs, 655 emus, 175 swamp wallabies, 113 wombats and 83 magpies.  Apparently these iconic native animals aren’t part of our “environment” or even “heritage” now?
(corella and galahs under the firing line)

The Baird government prepares to introduce a controversial Biodiversity Conservation Act to NSW Parliament this month.  Another blatant oxymoron, when this carnage will be a direct assault on any Biodiversity or Conservation!

“Those who seek to kill native wildlife will be able to do so with no oversight and little consequence.

“The approach suggested by the Baird government beggars belief; not only do they remove protections for killing native animals, they will also stop keeping records of how many are killed.”

The Royal Zoological Society of NSW has warned that removing the s121 licence would lead to the neglect of 75 per cent of the protected fauna in NSW!  The zoological types added that doing so would “abandon global-standard wildlife management practices” in NSW.


Scrapping the Native Vegetation Act and Threatened Species Conservation Act will not help nature in NSW.

It will be replaced by a so-called Orwellian-named Biodiversity Conservation Act that will apply many of the current tree destruction tools in the government’s armoury to the city and the country. The Native Vegetation Act, which has saved hundreds of thousands of hectares from the bulldozer and chainsaw, had scientifically based rules about what should be protected (red lights) or offset with integrity. But no more under this new legislation – you can buy your way out.  The aim is to simply further the short-term financial interests of big agribusiness and property developers at the expense of wildlife and communities. 

PETITION: Stop the Baird government declaring “open season” on our Native Animals.

Please contact the people below to vehemently oppose this proposed law. Your letter does not need to be long, just an outright opposal to this lunacy.

Things to consider. We are looking at mass killings across NSW. This will lead to locaslised extinction of some animals. For wildlife rehabilitators – what will be the point of what we do if the animals can easily be killed on release? Also, our rehabilitation licensing will most likely become null and void as our license sits under the same licence to “harm native animals”.

Mike Baird
NSW Premier Online contact form :… Email Manly Electorate Office : Phone Ministerial Office : (02) 8574 5000 Fax Ministerial Office : (02) 9339 5500 Phone Manly Electorate Office : (02) 9976 2773 Fax Manly Electorate Office : (02) 9976 2993

Luke Foley
NSW Labor Leader Email : Phone Minsterial Office (02) 9230 2310 Postal Address: Mr Luke Foley, MP Parliament House Macquarie Street SYDNEY NSW 2000 Email Auburn Electorate Office : Phone Auburn Electorate Office : (02) 9644 6972

Greens NSW

Email :

Postal Address:

The Greens NSW
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Kangaroos must be “culled” for urban sprawl

A wildlife “consultant” has called for a radical new plan to cull kangaroos along Melbourne’s urban fringe before there is any more housing development.  What’s “radical” about this solution to wildlife?  Due to lack of vision, foresight and planning, it means killing them!

This new “plan” is about caving into the whims of property developers, and the plans of our State government to blow out our urban fringe for more growth-gluttony  and housing.

Thanks to Melbourne’s obesity, urban sprawl keeps stretching out north, causing problems for residents and wildlife. There are more fences, road and houses, causing chaos and causing kangaroos to become trapped in factories, rooftops and school yards.  Their habitat is being impinged upon and eaten away by infrastructure and clogged up, due to human population growth.

Instead of addressing the problem, and implementing any real plans for the city, the waist-line of Melbourne keeps expanding as 100,000 new people per year keep it engorged.

Wildlife Victoria has received about 6,500 emergency calls about kangaroos this year, double the number they received three years ago.

DELWP, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, is meant to administer the Wildlife Act, and enforce the protection of our native species, is also the State government department responsible for Planning! There are massive and blatant conflicts of interests here. 

According to DELWP’s own website, they have control over our population growth!  By 2051, there will be a projected 10 million people in Victoria, a “natural increase” of 1.7 million, and a whopping 2.8 million due to net migration.

Wildlife Victoria spokeswoman Amy Amato said “It’s definitely not an increase in the number of kangaroos in Melbourne….we’re just seeing the number of incidents in human conflict with kangaroos rising.”  In fact, our government does not know how many kangaroos there are in Victoria.


(image: The True Cost of Sprawl)

Victoria’s Department of Environment has engaged independent wildlife management consultant Ian Temby to review the situation.  His solution is to kill the kangaroos before development goes ahead, arguing kangaroos are being slowly culled by cars anyway!  So, their deaths are inevitable, and shooters don’t kill will be finished off by cars.   Then, the housing industry won’t be hampered by obstructed by native animals.

Author Ian Temby, in the past, recommended learning to live humanely with wildlife.  Known to Wildlife Victoria members as a long time as wildlife advocate with over 30 years in the DSE.

He claimed that “action to resolve conflicts with wildlife does not have to be lethal. Exclusion, repellents, changing human practices and habitat modification are all examples of non-lethal actions”.  And, “rather than killing wildlife, our real challenge is to develop and apply methods of problem resolution that are proactive, anticipating where problems may occur and taking action to prevent them from actually happening”. 

Now, his solution is CULL, CULL, the easy and lazy way of removing the problem.

There are no interconnecting wildlife corridors in Victoria, so whatever “Planning” happens doesn’t include the fate of our native species.

For too long our capitalistic economy has gorged on “growth”, and worshipped the real estate industry, caving into it’s whims for resources.  Already our infrastructure is choked and overloaded, and congestion is impeding productivity.   We are falling into an abyss of infrastructure deficit.

What values are we promoting and what benefits are there from our city’s explosive growth- except for property developers and real estate investors?

The high immigration that was beneficial in the 1950s, and 60s is now causing our cities to be over-crowded and overpopulated. Our governments are addicted to growth, and our economy is on thin ice if it depends on rising house prices and population growth.  It’s admission of being bereft of ideas, innovation, and enlightenment. It’s lazy economics, to just turn up the immigration tap to boost our economy, and expect the public to finance the retro-fitting of our city, endure a crumbling housing market, and all the deprivations of perpetual growth imposed on us!

The lack of innovation and diversity in our economy means that there’s an over-reliance on housing and population growth.  It’s a lethal and self-destructive Ponzi scheme, and will not only have a deadly impact on our wildlife, biodiversity and environment, but eventually cause impoverishment, deprivation, eroded living standards, congestion, and spiralling costs of living for human inhabitants.








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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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Possible Federal Government EPBC de-listing of endangered species – Southern Brown Bandicoot.

In 2014, a Mammal Action Plan (MAP) was set up by the Federal Government Environment Department under authority of Minister Greg Hunt.
Among many recommendations put forward by the MAP, five early recommendations included Isoodon obesulus obesulus (Southern Brown Bandicoot (South-East)) which has been tentatively recommended to be de-listed from EPBC protection.

The reason given was that there have been too many referrals.
This does not mean SBB are in surplus, it simply reflects the obvious increasing number of applications for approval of residential/commercial development and infrastructure in locations where there are listed species and environmental constraints.

If SBB is de-listed from EPBC protection , current conservation management strategies will no longer be in place and future survival of SBB could be at risk where habitat loss occurs.

The process of listing or de-listing recommended species has several stages, one of which is to receive public comment via submissions. This opportunity will close on Friday 30th January 2015.

Due to absence of information about the MAP proposal to de-list SBB, there is little time.

Please act by lodging a submission requesting that SBB remain listed under the protection of EPBC legislation.

Gloria O’Connor

Environment South East Alliance
26th January 2015
Addendum:  SBB are now extinct at Mornington Peninsula and Frankston.

SBB were in Oakleigh in 1980’s, quarries, market gardens but eventually became extinct.
SBB also went extinct in City of Kingston (Braeside Reserve, Rowan Woodlands, The Grange) in 1990’s.

This proposal is simply based on greed for housing profits, and a blatant elimination of a natural constraint to more housing developments on crucial SBB habitat!  This vandalism of the EPBC Act, by an Environment Minister, is unacceptable!

Forward comment to:
Mail to: Marine and Freshwater Species Conservation Section Wildlife, Heritage and Marine Division Department of the Environment, PO Box 787, Canberra ACT 2601
View consultation documentation available on Dept. of Environment website or by circulated information through community group networks.

Southern_Brown_Bandicoot_juvenile(image: juvenile Southern Brown Bandicoot)

Update: Submissions can be accepted up to the 27th February.

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Logan & Albert Conservation Association


Dear Minister Hunt,

Please reject the development application for the proposed North Maclean Enterprise Precinct at North Maclean, South-East Queensland which involves clearing 289 acres of koala and quoll habitat.



Why is this important?
Since 1996, the environmental concerns raised by the community at North Maclean and Munruben have never been addressed. There have been numerous sightings of vulnerable Koalas on and around the property. There have been numerous sightings of endangered Spotted-Tailed Quolls in adjacent properties – these quoll sightings have been the first in the Greater Brisbane Area since the 1930s . Quoll roadkill has been collected from the area confirming the presence of quolls in this area. The proposed site provides valuable habitat for koalas, quolls and other threatened species including the endangered grey headed flying fox, the Swift Parrot and the vunerable Glossy Black Cockatoo.

There have been no detailed impact assessments of industry on these vulnerable/threatened species. No frog or reptile studies have ever been carried out.

By signing the petition, you are asking Minister Greg Hunt to REJECT the North Maclean Enterprise (Industry) Precinct proposal. You will be giving our unique Koalas, Spotted-tailed Quolls and other endangered/Vulnerable wildlife of North Maclean and Munruben a chance of survival.


If this development application is approved at North Maclean, 117 hectares (approx. 289 acres) of koala food and shelter habitat will be totally cleared. The major threat to koalas is the loss of habitat. This vast proposed site is only 45% of what is eventually planned for the koala habitat of North Maclean. This current application is a dangerous precedent in the area that should not be approved.

Sign the Petition

Join the Facebook Group!

The site, owned by Wearco Pty Ltd, is subject to a Federal Government environmental assessment under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act with a decision about the future of the corridor to be handed down on August 31.

The site is projected by Logan City Council to bring 27,350 jobs to the area and an estimated $1.2 billion a year to the ­region’s economy.

“Jobs” and “economic growth” are eating away at our environment and native species’ habitats.

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