Category Archives: New South Wales

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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Want to help fire-affected wildlife? Regional NSW network set-up.

water-feed-wildlife-feb2020

MILLIONS OF NATIVE animals have been killed and survivors deprived of food, shelter and water thanks to the unprecedented bushfires sweeping the country, on the back of extensive drought. The drought is predicted to continue as well as the fires for some time.

In our own backyard, Wildcare (Queanbeyan, Bungendore, and nearby rural areas) and the Native Animal Rescue Group NARG (Braidwood area), along with individual property owners, are ramping up efforts to provide food, water, and in some cases shelter. You can help. See how, below.

The North Black Range bushfire, between Bungendore and Braidwood, is the nearest fire arena. Property owners on the periphery of the burnt-out area are seeing and reporting animals searching for food, water and shelter. Affected animals are turning up in unusual places.

Food and shelter stations being set up

Wildcare and NARG volunteers, with the help of the community, have started to deliver essential food — grass, hay, pellets, bird seed — and other food, such as fruit and native tree and shrub cuttings. Food stations are positioned in strategic locations. It’s reported to be working — with animals coming in to feed. Watering points have also been set up.

Nesting boxes for possums and gliders have started to be erected to provide shelter. Property owners and members of the public have been extremely helpful in maintaining the food and water supply and for the cash donations needed to support this program. More needs to be done.

Fire and drought-affected property owners who need assistance with the cost of helping can make use of the Food4Wildlife scheme. Food (pellets for macropods or possums and bird seed) can be picked up from one of four collection points in Bungendore and Braidwood.

Visit wildcare.com.au for specific locations. For example, in Bungendore there are two bins outside Bungendore Produce on Gibraltar Street for that purpose.

Hay is also available to support grass-eating animals (contact haydrop@wildcare.com.au).

Wildcare thanks the many businesses who have donated food and material to support this effort, which will continue for many months until the native habitat recovers.

Don’t forget the water

With soaring temperatures, creeks and dams are drying out, so providing a water source for native animals is vital, including in our own drought-affected areas.

Put out bowls and troughs, or similar large containers, in shady locations for our native friends and keep the birdbaths topped up. Place stones and branches in the container to allow access and exit by insects and smaller animals.

CAPTION: Our main picture shows a friend of  The District Bulletin in Canberra, topping up water containers on Black Mountain, while guarding against the world’s most toxic hot air … the impact of the bushfires and government climate policy.  ON RIGHT: RFS-rescued possum receiving treatment from Wildcare. Images supplied.

Cash donations to Wildcare or NARG are vital for the ongoing demand to resupply food and buy materials that support affected animals.

If people wish to donate, visit wildcare.com.au and find out the ways that this can be done. Please give whatever you can to help save the surviving wildlife from the North Black Range bushfire. Call Wildcare on 6299 1966, or NARG on 4846 1900, for further advice.

Humane Society International joins the helping hands

Working particularly with wildlife carers on private property, Humane Society International (HSI) has opened an appeal for donations and an emergency hotline for carers needing assistance.

Wildlife carers in need can call 1800 333 737.

HSI has already assisted with delivering emergency water supplies and supplementary feed for rescued wombats, kangaroos and flying-foxes.

HSI is also funding the building of additional rehabilitation enclosures for animals like koalas to ease the pressure on carers who are inundated with animals.

Many of HSI-supported Wildlife Land Trust members are wildlife carers, and many have lost everything they worked so hard to build. The organisation is pledging it will be there for the long haul.

For the many people who want to help animals in areas surrounding the fires, a simple start is to put out shallow bowls of fresh water. Fruits and vegetables can also be attached to trees to help flying-foxes, birds and possums, but some foods such as bread can be harmful to wildlife and should be avoided.

To contribute to the fund, visit: www.hsi.org.au/bushfire

Two other wildlife-friendly and helping organisations we have heard of that take donations to help surviving wildlife in Victoria, NSW and Queensland are:

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Cobargo Wildlife Sanctuary (NSW, Vic)

cobargo-wildlife-sanc-jan2020

We join Sara Tilling and Gary Henderson once more, this time Sara talks about grief and loss and rebuilding the future from the caravan that is to be their temporary home. There is an impassioned thank you for the many of you from around the world that have given the support and kindness that will make a new future possible.

“Like us, all living creatures don’t want to die and will fight to survive. Sometimes despite all odds we hang in there, not yet ready to leave for many reasons. Maybe just because you find someone that is prepared to sit with you, love you and give it their all to help you. To give you the strength to fight.”
— Sara Tilling

The money donated to the Cobargo Wildlife Sanctuary will be spent on rebuilding the wildlife care and rehabilitation infrastructure and equipment, compounds, sheds and the like. Money will also be spent on revegetating the property with the native plant species that will help to give the animals who come to live at the sanctuary in the future, the very best chance of a happy and successful life. There is a vast amount of work to be done.

You can assist in this work by donating HERE.

NOTE: Why it is critically important to donate to people and organisations working on the front line of wildlife rescue and rehabilitation in Australia.

Sara mentions the attitudes of governments in Australia to wildlife and conservation. What has occurred over the last few days is telling. Some good, some very bad.

The Commonwealth Government of Australia (Canberra) has pledged $50 million to assist wildlife in the firegrounds across this vast continent. The states most impacted at this time are New South Wales (Cobargo), Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia and Queensland. The $50 million in funding will be split between an expert advisory panel and community groups and Koalas will be a focus for restoration efforts, with as much as 30 per cent of Koala habitat destroyed. We shall see what happens.

In New South Wales, where some 8.5 million hectares have been destroyed and whose current government’s attitudes to wildlife conservation are nothing less than egregious appear to be planning on businesses as usual with no changes to lax wildlife laws or the level of commercial or other permits being issued. “DPIE will be monitoring fire and harvesting activity within the commercial management zones and will be engaging with commercial harvesters and animal dealers that may operate within the affected zones,” the spokesperson said. “Our goal is to ensure that Kangaroo populations remain ecologically sustainable.”

In Victoria, the Victorian Government, although details and how these are to be enforced are vague, has suspended its relatively new and doomed Kangaroo Pet Food Industry. The commercial wildlife industry in Victoria is doomed because much of the populations of species being exploited are now gone because of the large numbers of animals killed in the last few years. As far as I can tell the Victorian Government has no plans to put a stop to the vast scale culling of wildlife it claims to be a nuisance or overabundant. In Victoria in the ten-year period 2009-2018 inclusive a total of 32,147 of these ATCW permits (not commercial) were issued for Australian species covering 1,513,605 animals across 82 native species including for 26,507 Wombats, in addition Wombats are unprotected in much of the state and killing them does not require a permit. This Government describes Koalas as overabundant (nonsense).

While not formally announced, the Victorian Government (its Ministers) have also flagged their intention to proceed with this year’s Duck shooting season despite the devastating impact on waterbird populations in Australia from heat events, long term and severe drought and now the horrific fires. South Australia has already announced that despite the devastating fires it will proceed with its Duck shooting season.

Too little too late

An area not that much smaller than Greece, has been destroyed in Australia over the last few weeks and because the firegrounds are so vast, the wildlife that does survive is in immediate danger of starvation and dehydration, all food has gone, and water sources, if they remain, are contaminated. The Australian Veterinary Association is desperately calling on the Victorian Government to airdrop food into inaccessible, bushfire-affected land in Victoria to save starving wildlife.

“Victorian Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said the Government was taking expert advice to get the best outcome for native wildlife and biodiversity. “We’re considering supplementary feeding for threatened species in targeted areas if and when it’s appropriate and safe to do so,” she said.

As President of the Australian Wildlife Protection Council I have called on the government to stop all wildlife killing activities and to begin food drops with immediate effect. Towards the end of 2019 it looked to me, with all the disasters and potential disasters that we describe here, that the Victorian Government were ‘culling’ wildlife in state and national parks in Victoria. The response I received beyond the usual spin was as follows:

“If you require any more detailed information at this stage, we encourage you to submit your query through our Freedom of Information Process”.

Something to hide perhaps?

Australia’s ABC report that “Animals Australia director Lyn White said some species in fire-affected areas were critically endangered such as the mountain pygmy-possum and brush-tailed rock-wallaby found in Gippsland. The charity offered $100,000 to the Victorian Government last week to help purchase food, but said they have not received a response to the offer”.

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NSW Kangaroo Cruelty

Stop Kangaroo Cruelty in NSW!

Copyrighted picture by Maria Taylor

How you can Help


1. Demand an end to the cruelty of kangaroos in NSW!

> SIGN PETITION, DIRECT LINK HERE

In June 2018, the NSW Liberal/National government ‘relaxed red tape’ with regards to the already under-regulated and inhumane system of culling kangaroos.

This unethical measure paved the way for an increased number of inexperienced shooters to kill kangaroos. As a result, kangaroos are being maimed, killed inhumanely and joeys at foot left to starve to death at numbers that are totally unacceptable to the Australian community.

Already, hundreds of thousands of kangaroos are suffering unethical body-shots in the commercial industry. With these relaxed conditions, a major increase in the inhumane treatment of vulnerable kangaroos is certain.

‘The RSPCA’s research shows commercial shooters have lifted their accuracy rates from 86 to 96 percent.

The four percent variable still equates to 100,000 kangaroos. Farmers and sporting shooters, it says, have shown no improvement in their accuracy rates’
— Kellie Russell, Landline 2002


‘What happens when those does [kangaroo mothers] are shot before the shooter can get to the joey is that those joeys have scarpered off, the reality is that those joeys will die from starvation and if not from predation and that in a humane society can’t be tolerated.

Dr Hugh Wirth, RSPCA, Landline 2002

 

‘The problem with shooting and culling kangaroos is that when these animals are shot they often aren’t killed and it is extraordinarily inhumane. If we were processing domestic livestock the same way we do kangaroos it would shut down immediately. People would be just horrified. I think we need to have that same empathy and understanding for kangaroos as we would a cow.
Terri Irwin, ‘Kangaroo’ the movie, 2017

This unnecessary and unethical cruelty must end!

2. Draft a Letter/Email to your Local and State Representatives

• Download or copy and paste our draft letter into an email or letter (example below)
• Use our letter as is, or individualise it with your concerns.
• Insert the date, your address details and the minister’s address.

We recommend you send a copy to one (or all) of the following:

NSW Premier
The Hon. Gladys Berejiklian, MP
GPO Box 5341, Sydney NSW 2001
Tel: (02) 9228 5239
To contact the Premier visit www.nsw.gov.au and use the ‘Contact the Premier’ facility

Minister for Energy and Environment
The Hon. Matt Kean, MP
GPO Box 5341, Sydney NSW 2001
Tel: (02) 8574 6150
To contact the Minister for Energy and Environment visit www.nsw.gov.au and use the ‘Contact NSW Ministers’ facility

Minister for Agriculture and Western New South Wales
The Hon. Adam Marshall, MP
GPO Box 5341, Sydney NSW 2001
Tel: (02) 8574 5450
To contact the Minister for Agriculture and Western New South Wales visit www.nsw.gov.au and use the ‘Contact NSW Ministers’ facility

AND your local MPs, Greens, Labor, Liberal, National and Independent candidates


Download the letter here.


[Draft Letter Example]

(Insert date)

(Insert name of Minister)

(Insert position)

(Insert address)

(Insert email address)

(Insert your full name)

(Insert your postal address)

(Insert your email address

(Insert your phone number)

Dear (insert the minister/candidate’s title and name),

I/WE DEMAND AN END TO THE CRUELTY OF KANGAROOS IN NSW!

NSW kangaroo management is unacceptable to any compassionate and moral Australian citizen, and it just got worse.

In June 2018, the NSW Liberal/National government ‘relaxed red tape’ with regard to the already under-regulated and inhumane system of private culling of kangaroos in addition to a huge commercial hunt across the state.

This unethical political appeal to some NSW farmers also recruits city shooters to kill kangaroos in a totally unmonitored program. More kangaroos than ever are being maimed before death and unweaned joeys at foot left to starve.

In the commercial industry hundreds of thousands of kangaroos suffer face or body shots annually before being finally killed (RSPCA statistics). The non-commercial ‘less professional’ killing, promoted by NSW Primary Industries, now with even less conditions, is unacceptably inhumane. Here is an eyewitness account from NSW landowners who have witnessed commercial hunting along their property line for nearly a decade.

“We have seen hundreds of kangaroo’s heads that have been butchered and left in the field. Many do not have a gunshot wound to them. We have witnessed kangaroo heads that have been shot in regions of the head other than the brain case, often in the front of the head, [these kangaroos] may not have died until sometime after, often showing the signs of gruesome secondary trauma from a length of metal pipe or an axe.
Joeys are often not killed with their mothers but ripped from her pouch and discarded into the bushes, not even counted as a statistical ‘kill’. We hear them calling for their dead mothers until the sun comes up. We see them in the mornings lost and bewildered. We may see them again the next evening, but usually never again after that. This is considered ‘acceptable collateral damage’.
The group social structure is ruined. The mob is in disarray. The fields smell of death.”

The nature of kangaroo hunting and culling for economic purposes is inherently cruel to individual animals, destroys the kangaroo presence in natural ecosystems and bloodies our national icon, shaming Australia in other countries.

We are among many citizens who say it has to stop and will vote for reform of wildlife management.

Yours sincerely,

(Insert your name)


3. Speak for wildlife — join the AWPC
4. To make a donation to AWPC

(without becoming a member) click here.

Thank You!

 

 

 

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