Category Archives: State-by-State

$1M Wildlife Carer Fund rorted by NSW government:

NSW-govt-rorts-carers-fund-may2020

80% redirected to other programs — only 20% paid to wildlife carers.

THE NSW LABOR Opposition has disclosed that the state government’s much-hyped million dollar fund for wildlife carers in bushfire-affected regions has been rorted by the government itself, with only 22 percent of the money being paid to wildlife carers.

At least half of the Wildlife Carers Bushfire Fund has already been redirected to the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment to fund other programs, including $62,000 on mapping exercises and $438,000 on two new staff positions within the Department to oversee wildlife rehabilitators.

The NSW Labor Opposition has called for the full funds to be reinstated and given to wildlife carers as promised.

When the fund was announced — to much fanfare — the Environment Minister Matt Kean’s claimed that “the funding will help wildlife rehabilitators respond and prepare for natural emergencies. Community rehabilitation groups and the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife will be able to access the funds.”

However, answers provided by the Minister to supplementary budget estimates questions reveal that only $220,000 has been paid to wildlife rehabilitators, with $500,000 spent internally and the remaining $280,000 unspent, six months later.

According to the Minister, the remaining funds will now be allocated towards repairing damaged infrastructure and will not be given to wildlife carers.

“The Government has been caught red-handed rorting their own wildlife carer fund,” Labor’s environment spokesperson, Kate Washington, said.

“This money was meant to go into the hands of our incredible wildlife carers to help keep injured animals alive. Instead, the Government stole 80 percent of the funds, and only a fraction of the money made its way to actual wildlife carers. It’s reprehensible.”

“Some entire regions ravaged by bushfires only received $3,000 from this fund, like the Blue Mountains and the New England region. Meanwhile, $500,000 was sneakily redirected back to the Department itself.”

“Koala mapping is important, of course, and so is oversight. But if you promise one million dollars for wildlife carers, you should deliver on that promise. The government shouldn’t steal half the money to pay itself, and then redirect the rest to other programs.”

“Matt Kean should hang his head in shame for giving false hope to the hard-working volunteers who are still struggling to keep injured animals and ecosystems alive.”

“The Environment Department already has staff who liaise with and oversee wildlife carers. They were already doing environmental mapping following the bushfires. Why does the government need to steal 80 percent of this fund to cover its day-to-day work?”

“This Minister loves a cute and cuddly headline, but when push comes to shove, and when the media attention wanes, Matt Kean has quietly cut and run with the money.”

“Wildlife carers are amazing, their work is hard and heartbreaking — they deserve the support they were promised,” concluded Ms Washington.

IMAGERY SOURCE: Wildcarers NSW

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Poisoned pills showered on burned parks and reserves, NSW

THE RECENT BUSHFIRES in eastern Australia have had an apocalyptic impact on the natural environment and wildlife, as the whole world now knows. What most Australians and overseas wildlife friends don’t know is some of the troubling response by state authorities.

wildlife-cons-bushfire-recoveryThe NSW government has devised a plan called The Wildlife and Conservation Bushfire Recovery Plan put forward by the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment with management by NSW National Parks. Sounds benign and much of it is.

The suffering of some wildlife and the needs of citizen rescuers have been recognised in the plan’s proposed financial assistance to individuals and organisations, as well as with money for food drops and watering stations in areas of inaccessible bushland. Some good recovery actions are planned, see document link below for the department’s ‘Bushfire Recovery Plan’.

But there is a darker side — bringing new pain and death, thanks to Australia’s traditional lethal approach to managing predators and other animals inconvenient to agriculture, or indeed just Australian ideas of wildlife management.

The department’s plan has a list of threatened and vulnerable native animals suffering from habitat loss, scarcity of food and water, and threats of predation by feral animals — including the Mountain Pygmy Possum, the Greater Glider, the White-footed Dunnart, the Stuttering Frog, and some wallabies. Rescue operations are named also for Platypus, Grey-headed flying foxes, Booroolong frogs, genetically important Koalas from the Blue Mountains region, Manning River Helmeted Turtles, Northern Corroboree Frogs. Well and good.

But missing from the check list of animals that the authorities care about are more common species including larger kangaroos and wombats, birds of prey, and the Australian native dog the Dingo. Indeed, the dingo as a ‘wild dog’ and a list of non-native animals are the target of a shooting and poisoning campaign being launched on burned-out parks and reserves for the coming year, ostensibly to save the above threatened species.

The poisoning blizzard has been spun by departmental aides armed with a barrage of statistics as being essential to benefit these vulnerable native animals.

Is that so?

History has made neighbouring landholders more enquiring and worried. One neighbouring landholder, worried for her own rescued animals and companion dogs, told the AWPC she learned from a state worker that the traditional motive for poisoning campaigns — sheep farmers lobbying National Parks to kill canine predators — is also at work here.

It appears that dingos have simply been re-classified as wild dogs for the purposes of baiting which has been par for the course by the government’s Local Land Services for some time.

The Australian dingo among non-native animals targeted by shooting and poisoning campaign on burned-out public lands. Neighbours worry.

Animals listed to be killed are dogs, foxes, cats, deer, pigs, goats and rabbits. When broadscale lethal management is on the mind of authorities they reach for the gun and for 1080 poison.

1080 banned in most of the world

1080 (sodium fluoroacetate) occurs naturally in some plants as a defence. It is considered so nasty a poison against mammals that it has been banned in most countries of the world nowadays and is accused of deleterious effects on a wider range of species beyond mammals. 1080 is used liberally in New Zealand and also in Australia because it is cheap and readily applied being colourless, odourless and tasteless so readily eaten by various species when in appealing baits.

Animals that take in 1080 die a prolonged and agonising death whether directly or as non-target species including scavenging dogs and birds. A “scientific” experiment on the effects of 1080 poison on baited dingoes gave detailed accounts of vomiting, manic behaviour, convulsions and fits over a period of a time from hours to days.

Many landholders have been agonised by a similar death of their pet dogs when living near baited state or private land.

RELATED STORY:
After the fires, 1080 baits pose new problem for animal sanctuary.

By Michael Weaver, Riot Act!

National Parks’ killing plan to run for 12 months, shooting and baiting. One million 1080 baits ready. Who pays and who benefits?

  • 1,500–2,000 hours of aerial shooting
  • localised follow-up and ground shooting
  • up to 60,000 kilometres of aerial baiting
  • deployment of up to 1,000,000 baits

Dingo defender Susan Cruttenden from the NSW South Coast asks:

How can dingoes and other carnivorous native animals such as the Spotted Quoll be given any sort of protection in what one official called “core areas” when they have been driven away from their regular habitats by fear, fire and hunger?

The department said in response to questions from Cruttenden:

 “Aerial baiting for wild dogs is designed to avoid core remote areas in parks where dingoes cause no harm, allowing dingoes to maintain their ecological function in these areas.

“Scientific research has shown native animals including lace monitors and birds have a high tolerance to 1080. Research has also shown that aerial baiting does not significantly impact quolls populations.

“Aerial baiting will comply with all relevant codes of practice and regulations, and will be informed by a risk assessment. Work will be carried out by an experienced National Parks and Wildlife Service staff team that has been delivering aerial baiting for two decades.”

The responses add more questions and beg for sources of the Quoll research for example. Core areas and harm? Core areas of National Parks were burned as well, so recovering wildlife there no worry with wild dogs?

Cruttenden repeats what other research has found — there are more effective and more humane ways of protecting farmers’ livestock from dingoes and other predatory animals. The apex predator role in nature is another issue.

One sheep farmer we know of uses Alpaca guards and it works. A more holistic farming method includes the whole natural biodiversity from the soil up. Not killing native prey wallabies and kangaroos, or predators has worked on these farms with a balance established.

In defence of the dingo and Australian biodiversity

Charming the visitor at the Toolern Discovery Sanctuary and Research Centre. Image: Allan Baxter.

Canus lupus dingo has survived in Australia for thousands of years, is revered by indigenous people as a totem animal, and admired by people who have protected and cared for it in homes and sanctuaries.

The dingo is also highly regarded by scientists and ecologists for its unique qualities and the vital role it plays as apex-predator in the wild.

Dingoes are recognised as a vulnerable species by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and National Resources, an organisation which has world renowned naturalist David Attenborough as its patron. Estimates of the number of dingoes in the wild vary greatly because of the vast areas to be covered.

Australia’s biodiversity is crashing, independent of bushfires

Animal eradication plans are among the concerns of the 248 Australian scientists who wrote a letter to the Prime Minister in late 2019 urging strong leadership to arrest the rapid decline in the number of native species and the break-down of  natural eco-systems.


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

— and PASS IT ON

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ACT sticking to annual slaughter of kangaroos (?) despite bushfire inferno, victims

ACT-annual-slaughter-Feb2020

Below is a media statement from Animal Protectors Alliance commenting on the ACT government plans to cement its annual shooting of grey kangaroos on city reserves (government put out a tender for a shooter and helper for the next five years). This shameful ritual slaughter of adults, involving also bashing of in-pouch joeys and slow death of still-dependent joeys would be going into its 11th year. The slaughter of the national icon looks set to continue, unless the community convinces the ACT government to stop this barbaric and senseless practice. Whether you are a citizen of Australia or an international visitor, let the ACT government know what you think about that.

………………………………………………..

AS FIRES RAGE around the ACT, uncontrolled and unlikely to be fully extinguished for months, kangaroos are fleeing into the ACT, many dying of their wounds, or on our roads, or on our barbed wire fences.

The ACT was once a refuge for kangaroos fleeing shooting in surrounding NSW. Now it is a deadly sink where thousands of these animals are slaughtered every year.

The government defends the annual slaughter by claiming that shooters are required to adhere to a Code of Practice.

Spokesperson for APA (Animal Protectors Alliance), Robyn Soxsmith described this claim as “unforgivable hypocrisy”.

Former member (for nearly 18 years) of the ACT government’s own Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (AWAC), Frankie Seymour, explains that the entire purpose of the Code of Practice is to exempt from prosecution acts of cruelty that would otherwise be offences under the ACT’s own Animal Welfare Act.

Ms Seymour asserts, “The ACT government had the option of developing a humane code of practice: one that prohibited killing of mothers with dependent young, bludgeoning joeys to death or orphaning them to starvation, prohibited herding and driving kangaroos into a state of fatal myopathy. They could have had a code that recognised the ACT as the ‘Bush Capital’, recognised Canberra’s unique role in providing a refuge from the unfettered carnage underway in NSW. Instead they joined the other states in betraying our native animals for all the worst possible reasons.

“I believe the killing serves no other purpose than to garner votes and agistment fees for cattle grazing from farmers, and high rents and rates from developers. It has nothing to do with protecting the environment,” Ms Seymour concludes.

Robyn Soxsmith continues. “The ACT government claims its slaughter of kangaroos is science-based and environmentally beneficial. But when you look into the sources they quote in the references section of their Kangaroo Management Plan, you discover that there is no independent science that justifies the annual massacre.

“Even the CSIRO found that three kangaroos per hectare is better for the environment than none, and no worse than one or two. Yet the government’s ‘calculator’ of how many to kill is based on the totally imaginary and arbitrary premise that more than one kangaroos per hectare is too many. In deference to this science-free calculator, the government religiously kills any kangaroos in excess of one per hectare.”

APA is calling on the ACT government to assure the people of Canberra that, in view of the fires and the ACT’s status as a refuge for kangaroos who have miraculously escaped into the ACT, there will be no government slaughter of kangaroos this year.

> The ACT Conservation Minister for the Environment and Heritage; and the Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability contact details are available on pg3 of this link. 

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UPDATE: Save Mt Lofty (koala habitat) Toowoomba, Qld.

save-Mt-Lofty-petition

It’s not quite over yet folks, stay tuned

I’m Penny and I wrote the Mt Lofty koala petition — thank you for sharing it. In response to your query, this is the story!

What happened:

DHA said that they had withdrawn their Masterplan for 342 houses.

This turned out to be sort-of true.

They have ditched the big development, but they did not withdraw their plan. They have kept it current under the same development assessment number. This means that they can submit a new plan without going to the public and submissions are disallowed.

We have approached council re[garding] this and asked that any new plans must be go out to submission.

However, DHA has stated that they will put forward a much smaller development and that they won’t clear all/most of the critical koala habitat. So yes, it is a win. But it also depends what they do next … so we are keeping a good eye on them!

— Cheers, Penny. 16 April 2020


UPDATE: Toowoomba koala habitat Mt Lofty

A big hello to all our wonderful supporters!

Mt-Lofty-reprieve-Feb2020Today we woke up to this headline on the front cover of our local paper: DHA Ditches Mt. Lofty Plan. 

342 houses will no longer be built on this precious land. There is still some way to go on this, as all this really means is that the original plan has been withdrawn. It remains to be seen what will emerge in its place. However, it’s a win and we are celebrating (we like to think the koalas are too, in their own secret way).

This petition shone a light onto our little neck of the woods, onto our koalas, onto our beautiful forested land with its creeks and waterfall, with its mists and endless views. We could NOT have done this without all the people, from all around our bruised planet, who cared enough to support us.

Let’s take strength from this and keep on fighting. Lets show the greedy, the thoughtless, the uncaring and powerful that we mean business. We fight. We don’t stop.

THANK YOU!

— The Save Mt. Lofty Inc Team, 21 February 2020


Petition to local council, ask state and federal officials to say NO.

Mount Lofty is a very special place, right on the edge of the Toowoomba Escarpment. It’s a place of forests, permanent springs and Toowoomba’s only waterfall.

We, the Mt. Lofty community, see and hear koalas here all the time. Malcolm and Belle have a special place in our hearts because they’re breeding right now. We want to see little baby koalas here. Australia needs that to happen very, very badly.

It’s not just koalas either. There are lots of other animals here too, such as echidnas, wallabies, kangaroos, goannas, small mammals, bats, reptiles and frogs. The bird life is amazing.

But that’s about to change.

This land has escaped the developers only because it’s an ex-Rifle Range and has been owned by the Department of Defence for over 100 years.

But now our Federal government wants to clear all the land that’s flat enough to build on, including 38 hectares (that’s 76 football fields) of Critical Koala Habitat. They’ll bulldoze the forest and cram the bare dirt with 342 houses and villas, on blocks down to 300m2.

Few of these houses are for the Defence force. An independent consultant says most of them will go to investors and second home-owners.

They even want their own special planning code so they can get away with it.

It’s not too late though!

Right now, the Toowoomba Regional Councillors have this application sitting on their desks. They have the environmental grounds in the planning code to reject this development and save the koalas, and all the animals, on this land.

The community has been fighting this for over two years now. Time is running out — the decision could come any time within the next few months.

Please tell the people doing this that we just cannot keep on this way. We have lost over a billion animals in the fires. Koalas are slow and many of them were burned to death.

We cannot afford to lose more animals, especially when this land was never paid for and doesn’t have to be destroyed for one-off financial gain.


MORE INFORMATION; PETITION HERE

 

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Three days at a border fireground (Vic, NSW)

corryong-fire-grounds

AWPC committee member and long-time wildlife rescuer Chris Lehmann spent three days on the post-fire ground between between Victoria and NSW around Albury and Corryong in early February.  Here is his first hand initial report and also a youtube clip from that journey.

The new AWPC committee supports all community efforts to help bring emergency assistance, including food and water drops, to fire survivors as well as to areas that are so dry that animals have lost their natural sustenance (and that might burn next!)

State governments in Victoria and NSW have yet to take leadership or action on helping the wildlife survivors bar a few well-publiced food drops to endangered wallabies.

Landholders and the wider community, including volunteers from overseas are leading the way with generosity and dedication.


My first expression of what I saw at Corryong:

Longing for life

We spent 3 days in the fire grounds of Corryong, some 30 days after Corryong was evacuated because of the fire storms that had destroyed Woormargama, Burrowa, Pine, and Mittamatite Forests plus much of the farmland and many homes around.

We were searching for life.

Mt Mittamatite is a local mountain forest covering about 100 square kms. There might have been 100,000+ furred and feathered animals living on just Mt Mittamatite. Now, 30 days later, as a result of daily searches (over the last few weeks) well into the early hours of the morning, a local wildlife carer estimates there is 50–100 animals surviving there.

He has identified the very few patches of forest that have enough cover and dregs of food for survival and has committed to providing water and food for those few survivors. Those 50–100 kangaroos, wallabies and wombats will be the genesis of the recovery of the mountain.

Life is there, we found it — but the lack of water and good food is too real.

We need to support these animals for a few months. On Tuesday we [sent] 30–40 bags of carrots up to Bellaboo Wildlife Shelter who will lead the water station and food drop effort.

 


A 2nd report from the Corryong Fire Grounds, February 2020.

(Click above text to link to the written post on the Kangaloola Wildlife Shelter Inc. Facebook page.)

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BREAKING NEWS: Vic Govt lifts moratorium

AS THE BUSHFIRES continue to kill kangaroos, The Victorian State Government has lifted their emergency moratorium of the commercial killing of kangaroos.

No wildlife assessment has been completed.
The number of surviving kangaroos is unknown.

Write directly to the Victorian Premier Daniel Andres today to voice your concerns
daniel.andrews@parliament.vic.gov.au
Or phone directly (03) 9651 5000

#ShameAustralia
#KangaroosAlive
#AnimalWelfare

 

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