Category Archives: State-by-State

THE KILLING MUST STOP (ACT)

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The Australian Wildlife Protection Council supports the campaign by Canberra and region citizens against the slaughter now ongoing in the nation’s capital of hundreds of kangaroo families and the trauma this traditional and brutal killing also causes to many compassionate residents.

This is an open letter sent by Canberra citizens to Canberra’s politicians of all parties.


Open letter to members of the ACT Legislative Assembly

We, concerned ACT residents whose rates and taxes fund the killing of kangaroos, demand a stop to all killing on Canberra nature reserves and a public inquiry into the full impacts of this annual slaughter:
▪ on animals;
▪ on people;
▪ on the environment; and
▪ on the reputation of the Territory.

Every year, over the winter months, ratepayers fund the ACT Government to send hired guns to stalk Canberra nature reserves at night.

IMAGE SOURCE: Save Canberra’s Kangaroos, Facebook post 25 June 2022.

Over twelve years — across 11,400 hectares of the Canberra Nature Park — 27,950 kangaroos have been killed. Thousands more pouch joeys have been bludgeoned to death or decapitated. Thousands more dependent at-foot joeys have been orphaned to slower death from hunger, thirst, cold and myopathy (a particularly painful and deadly form of stress).

Many Canberra residents feel their own lives have been placed at risk, because shooting often occurs near people, next to roads, reserve fences, off-reserve walking trails, or back fences of homes.

The reserves are also affected by the reduction in kangaroo populations, their keystone native grazers, and from the impact of shooters’ vehicles which churn up the ground, killing native species and seeding exotic weeds.

Many reserves are now covered in thistles and rank grassy weeds. These weeds will be suburban firetraps in summers to come.

What happened at Farrer Ridge?

 

Last year, 296 kangaroos and 120 joeys were killed at Farrer Ridge. Nearby residents huddled in their houses, distressed by the sound of kangaroos being shot and dying. Tragically, only 32 kangaroos survived what can only be described as a massacre.

Some locals, especially children, have cried when they learned that kangaroos they nurtured through the drought and the fires have now been shot. One elderly couple reports, “They were shining their spotlight into our house!” Another man was horrified to find a pile of kangaroo corpses dumped outside his back fence awaiting collection in the morning.

 

Experiences of residents at Farrer Ridge echo similar stories from other suburban reserves throughout the 12 years of slaughter.

Culling began in 2009 without any scientific baseline research on the ACT’s kangaroo populations. Since then, no plausible evidence has been produced to demonstrate any benefits from killing kangaroos. Every government attempt to justify this slaughter has been debunked. Independent research, and even research funded by the government itself, provides no evidence that kangaroo grazing has ever harmed any other native species or ecosystem.

During 2021–22, a citizen science project conducted a ‘direct observational count’ of kangaroos in all 37 of Canberra’s accessible nature reserves. This research has confirmed that the Environment Directorate’s claims of an overabundance of kangaroos is demonstrably unfounded.

This project’s findings are corroborated by a Farrer resident, who has walked on Farrer Ridge Reserve for decades. She reports that, until last year, the kangaroo population there had remained stable for 30 years, reducing during drought. Last year was the first year Farrer Ridge was included in the government’s slaughter, and almost the entire population was wiped out. This is the trajectory for half of all the reserves in Canberra Nature Park.

The ACT Environment Directorate itself confirmed, on 13 April 2022, that the kangaroo population of the ACT is unknown — but that it intends to kill another 1,650 kangaroos this year, anyway.

This is not conservation. This is extermination.

The Kangaroo Management Plan, which mandates killing kangaroos, and the Code of Practice, which mandates the bludgeoning of joeys, are legislative instruments.

Each and every member of the Legislative Assembly is therefore personally responsible for this tragedy. Please stop it before any more damage is done.

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THE CALL TO ACTION

Canberra’s so-called ‘conservation cull’ permits shooting of female kangaroos with joeys in-pouch and the bludgeoning to death of those joeys. Hundreds every year. Would we do this to puppies or kittens? If you believe we are better than this, please email:

▪ Your local MLA,
▪ Minister for the Environment, Rebecca Vassarotti Vassarotti@act.gov.au
▪ The ACT Chief Minister, Andrew Barr Barr@act.gov.au

For more information: go to Facebook #SaveCanberrasKangaroos
or email: canberrakangaroos@optusnet.com.au

 

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Colonial ‘bounty’ killing of native animals continues in Victoria

dingo-bounty-feature_supplied-AFCAD
Dingos are being slaughtered by hunters for money in a Victorian program that echoes colonial removal of much native wildlife in Australia. And people thought we are better. Here’s a media release with visual proof sent to Victorian parliamentarians by the Association for Conservation of Australian Dingoes Inc.

THE VICTORIAN GOVERNMENT recently announced a digitised, streamlined administrative process for ‘wild dog’ bounty applications and payment to hunters. These changes are clearly a cost saving device. The current bounty for so-called ‘wild dog’ scalps is $120.
    AFCAD Inc. today slammed the refinement and continuation of the ‘wild dog’ bounty as a gross waste of public funds, as environmentally harmful, as unnecessary to the protection of farm stock, and as a policy that deceives the Victorian public. Rather than streamlining the administration of the bounty, it should be abandoned. Not to do so is serious misgovernance.

The ‘wild dog’ myth

As confirmed by recent ground-breaking genetic research, so-called ‘wild dogs’ in Victoria are dingoes, a native wildlife taxon. Incredibly, the bounty takes no account of the fact that dingoes and dingo dominant hybrids are considered Australia’s pre-eminent ecologists important for ecosystem health, and pure dingoes are listed as a threatened native species in Victoria under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act.
2021 research found that:
…feral dogs have not established a self-sustaining population in the wild and that inter-breeding between dingoes and dogs may occur infrequently. Despite historical domestic dog introgression, the dingo population maintains a dingo dominant identity, even in southeastern Australia…
Further:
It is possible that widespread lethal control programs have increased the likelihood of dingo x dog hybridisation events and facilitating the spread of introgressed dog genes into the wider dingo population. (K. Cairns, M. Crowther, B. Nesbitt and M. Letnic, ‘The myth of wild dogs in Australia; are
there any out there?’, Australian Mammalogy, CSIRO Publishing, 2021.)
Against the best scientific advice, not only does the Victorian government persist in denying wildlife status to ecologically important dingo dominant hybrids, but, perversely, places a bounty on the head of both them and pure dingoes, even though the latter listed as a threatened native taxon in Victoria.

The ‘wild dog’ bounty is an invitation to fraud

Presently, recreational hunters are permitted to kill ecologically important dingo dominant hybrids (deemed ‘wild dogs’) over large areas of public estate beyond the specified areas of the state where the bounty applies. As a result, hunters can legally kill so-called ‘wild dogs’ (in reality including pure dingoes listed as threatened wildlife) in areas where the bounty does not apply, but they can then nevertheless easily and fraudulently present such scalps for bounty collection. The streamlining of the bounty arrangements will simply further facilitate such abuse.

Farm stock losses to predation exaggerated

Stock losses to dingo predation have been consistently exaggerated by the Victorian government and state Agriculture authorities, as well as extremists within the farming lobby (reflecting a backward colonial mindset).
    Yet, official Victorian government stock loss data (obtained by AFCAD Inc. through Freedom of Information legislation) show that stock loss rates to ’wild dog’ predation in Victoria are tiny and have been for a long time. Departmental statements fail to inform the public (and perhaps even the Environment and Agriculture Ministers) that the absolute and relative stock losses, as a share of the Victorian sheep flock, from alleged ‘wild dog’ predation have remained at a very low level for 20 years.
    In broad terms, sheep losses per million of the Victorian sheep flock over the past 20 years have varied within a range of between 100 and 200 sheep lost per million sheep. In absolute and relative terms, the losses are negligible. The bounty is simply unjustified in terms of farm stock protection and must be condemned for the public deception it relies upon and the ecological damage it incurs.

Environmentally destructive hunting of dingoes condoned by Victorian government

L-Lily D’ Ambrosio_R-Mary Anne ThomasLeft: Lily D’ Ambrosio – Victorian Minister for the Environment
Right: Mary Anne Thomas – Minister for Agriculture
The Victorian Environment and Agriculture ministers must now acknowledge and take responsibility for the gross policy inconsistencies surrounding the misidentification of dingoes as ‘wild dogs’, and for the environmental damage incurred within Victorian ecosystems through the ‘wild dog’ bounty. The buck stops with them.
    A particularly disturbing aspect of the perpetuation of the ‘wild dog’ bounty is that it encourages recreational hunters to kill dingoes in the mistaken belief that they are helping to remove an exotic invasive pest. They are in fact killing Victoria’s native apex predator and harming Victorian ecosystems. The Victorian government has been repeatedly appealed to by leading environmental scientists about the environmental harm incurred by current policy.
    The images below (and at top) are of dingoes killed in Victoria by hunters. Bear in mind that dingoes are listed as a threatened native species in Victoria. The contradiction is shameful and incompetent.
dingo-bounty-montage_supplied-AFCADThe Victorian government must:
  • Immediately discontinue the ‘wild dog’ bounty;
  • Immediately discontinue use of the term ‘wild dog’ as ecologically meaningless and
    recognise dingo dominant hybrids as wildlife
  • Remove the existing wildlife unprotection order for dingoes
  • Ban all hunting of dingoes in Victoria
  • Send a clear message to hunters and hunting organisations that dingoes are protected wildlife and impose significant penalties for the hunting and killing of dingoes.

The Ministers for the Environment and Agriculture can no longer claim ignorance on this issue.

………………………………………..

AFCAD is an incorporated association registered in the state of Victoria. Its purposes are the ‘Preservation and Conservation of Australian Dingoes and its habitat and ecosystems’ and its objectives include:

‘Encourage and facilitate legislative reform to ensure the protection and survival of the dingo in the wild’; ‘Encourage and facilitate government policy change to ensure the protection and survival of the dingo in the wild’; and
‘Inform and educate the public and government about the cultural, ecological and historical significance of the dingo and its conservation’

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Mid July 2021: Canberra succeeds in kangaroo wipeout?

KANGAROOS IN URBAN CANBERRA ARE NOW FUNCTIONALLY EXTINCT

THE ACT GOVERNMENT claims that 1,505 kangaroos have been killed on Canberra Nature Park reserves by the government’s mercenary ex-military killers this year. Notably, the government has not given a breakdown of how many were killed on each reserve.
Here is what we know from this year’s observation and monitoring:

• Before the killing began, there were not more than about thirty kangaroos on Farrer Ridge Nature Reserve and not more than forty on East Jerrabomberra Nature Reserve (although there was a larger mob on the adjoining Jerrabomberra Creek Reserve).

• As of yesterday, when the government announced the end of the slaughter, there had been no shooting at Farrer Ridge or East Jerrabomberra Nature Reserves for five weeks.

• The government shooters shot at East Jerrabomberra only four times throughout the whole killing season.

• There are currently only three kangaroos left on Farrer Ridge Reserve, and none to be found on East Jerrabomberra though, as always, others will dribble in from farms and other reserves in due course.

APA spokesperson, Robyn Soxsmith, notes, “We thought the reason the government kept the reserves closed for so long after the shooting had clearly ceased was because they were waiting for a few refugees to wander back during the last couple of weeks, just so they could have a last little mini bloodbath before the end.

IMAGE: Zoe-Atherfold, iStock

“Thankfully, that hasn’t happened, and we who watched those reserves every night for 43 cold nights can get on with our lives again. Tragically, if the government really has somehow found 1,505 kangaroos to kill, those 1,505 kangaroos no longer have lives to get on with.”

Based on these known figures from two of the closed reserves, it seems likely that most of those killed this year were killed in the “research laboratories” of Mulligans Flat and Goorooyarroo Nature Reserves. However, given the scale of slaughter that has taken place on those laboratories every one of the last thirteen years, it is doubtful kangaroos, even on those huge reserves, could have made the 1,505. Perhaps local farmers are happy to let the government shooters supplement the shortfall from their properties — but even kangaroos on rural properties are scarce these days.

Ms Soxsmith concludes:

“Kangaroos across Australia are in precipitous decline, and Canberra’s urban reserves are now functionally extinct. There are simply not enough kangaroos left for them to carry out their critical ecological role as a keystone species.”

Frankie Seymour, a lifelong advocate for animals, an environmental scientist and a former member (for nearly 18 years) of the ACT government’s own Animal Welfare Advisory Committee, concurs:

“Why else would they be killing kangaroos three to four times faster than it is biologically possible for their populations to recover?”

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Christmas comes early for NSW koala colony thanks to community work

koal-habitat-Lake-Innes-Nature-Reserve-supplied

THE NSW GOVERNMENT has announced the purchase of 194 hectares of prime koala habitat located adjacent to the Lake Innes Nature Reserve, south-west of Port Macquarie. The purchase is funded as a joint initiative and only possible through the generous contribution of $3.5 million from Koala Conservation Australia (KCA) as well as from the NSW Government’s landmark $193 million dollar investment in koala conservation.

Environment Minister Matt Kean said the purchase will protect core koala habitat of strategic importance in the Port Macquarie region which will help us reach our target of doubling the koala population by 2050.

“There has been sustained community advocacy to see this land purchased, and I want to pay particular tribute to the local member Leslie Williams and the KCA who have been instrumental in making this happen, their work will leave an enduring legacy for the community for generations to come,” Mr Kean said.

“Our iconic koalas are increasingly threatened by the loss and fragmentation of habitat, this purchase will protect critical habitat from development and ensure the koala population in this area is safeguarded forever.”

“Our plan is to add this purchase to Lake Innes Nature Reserve and declare it an Asset of Intergenerational Significance, which will provide the highest possible protections to this critically important population in perpetuity.”

Member for Port Macquarie Leslie Williams said this is a victory for the many advocates in the local community who have fought so hard for this result.

“The conservation of koalas on this land will be boosted by an ongoing partnership between the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and KCA – a great demonstration of what can be achieved when government works closely with the community.”

“It’s such welcome news here in the Port Macquarie region that the NSW Government has recognised the significance of this land through our passionate local community campaign,” Mrs Williams said.

“Our koala population here in Port Macquarie is beloved – a key part of our community’s identity, their conservation helps to support the tourism economy attracting tourists who want to enjoy the magic of seeing a koala in the wild.” she said.

“Most importantly, our community has the surety of knowing their children for generations to come will see koalas in the wild, which is cause for celebration.”

Chairperson of Koala Conservation Australia Sue Ashton said they are delighted that this purchase is finally being made a reality.

“This is a huge win for the koala population in the Port Macquarie region and will play a critical role in helping the population recover after the terrible Black Summer bushfires,” Mrs Ashton said.

“KCA is very pleased to partner with the NSW Government to secure this lasting legacy for one of our most iconic species.”

As well as the koala, three additional threatened species (eastern coastal free-tailed bat, glossy black cockatoo and grey-headed flying-fox) have been recorded on the property.

It is expected more will be found through survey effort, noting another 44 threatened species that may use habitat on the land have been recorded within a two-kilometre radius of the property.

Port Macquarie is an iconic area for koalas and the local community has strong association with koalas. The Koala (Guula) is a totem animal to the Birpai people and maintaining this population is of great cultural and spiritual importance to contemporary Birpai families.

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Victorian Response Plan for Wildlife Impacted by Fire, updated

vic-response-plan-wildlife fires

Wildlife impacted by fire

THE DEPARTMENT OF Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) is the lead agency responsible for managing wildlife impacted by fire in accordance with the Victorian Response Plan for Wildlife Impacted by Fire . The Response Plan has been reviewed and updated in consultation with the wildlife welfare sector in response to the 2019–20 bushfire season.

Wildlife in areas impacted by fire can be disoriented, smoke-affected and dehydrated. Some may also be suffering from burns and other injuries. Following a fire, it is expected that injured and uninjured wildlife will be seen moving through and near the fire ground.

Members of the public are urged to take care if attempting to help injured or distressed animals outside of the fire area.  Improper rescue techniques by untrained or inexperienced persons can cause further distress or injury to the animal and put the rescuer at risk.  Motorists should watch out for displaced animals along roadsides.

During a fire, the Incident Controller will determine if a wildlife response is required. Fire grounds are dangerous, even after the fire front has passed. Individuals, wildlife rescue and rehabilitation groups must not self-deploy to search for wildlife.

Victorian Response Plan for Wildlife Impacted by Fire

The purpose of the Victorian Response Plan for Wildlife Impacted by Fire (the Plan) is to define how DELWP, its partner agencies, contractors and volunteers will respond to wildlife welfare arising from fire. The Plan also defines how this will occur under Victoria’s emergency management arrangements.

LINK TO DELWP WEBSITE HERE

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Another Tasmanian Devil death — what you can do

Tasmanian-Devil-road-toll

Thank you to all 22,000 of you for standing up to protect the Tasmanian Devils. Only yesterday, I found another young dead devil along the road, bringing the death toll to 114 since January 2021.”  — Alice Carson, 1 March 2022. change.org

I HAVE BEEN contacting Ministers and representatives trying to get some real commitment from our leaders to protect one of the last remaining health devil populations in our state. But I haven’t received any support from Liberal or Labour leaders.

In fact, when I spoke to a lady in Premier Gutwein’s office, I was shocked to hear she didn’t even know that our precious devils are a threatened species. This is why it’s important for our leaders to hear from us. We need to show we care about the devils, and they must too.

Can you share the above photo on their social media pages as comments to grab their attention?

Simply right click on the image to save it, and post as a comment under Ministers’ Facebook posts with the following comment:

“114 healthy Tasmanian Devils have died on Woollnorth road since January 2021. We need urgent action to address the roadkill Change.org/TassieDevils”

Post the photo as comments under posts on the following Facebook pages:

VIEW ORIGINAL ARTICLE HERE


RELATED NEWS ARTICLE:
More than 100 Tasmanian devils killed on a 25km stretch of road in state’s north-west

ABC News, 3 March 2022

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