Category Archives: Victoria

Historic Court win (Vic) for threatened possum, Regional Forests Agreements

VicForest-court-win-august2020

AWPC has learned:

THE FEDERAL COURT just delivered final orders for our historic win for Friends of Leadbeater’s Possum that protects the forests subject to the case from logging! 

Although the court reached its conclusion in this case in May, until today it had not yet decided how the judgement would apply practically. 

IMAGES (from L): Greater Glider, Steve Parish; Steve Meacher, President, Friends of Leadbeater’s Possum; Leadbeater’s Possum, Dan Harley. SOURCE.

Justice Mortimer’s orders today grant final injunctions to protect the 66 areas of forest home to the threatened Greater Glider and critically endangered Leadbeater’s Possum subject to the case. 

The judge also made formal declarations of unlawful logging by VicForests in those 66 areas and ordered VicForests pay Friends of Leadbeater’s Possum’s costs of running the case.  

This is huge and sets a national precedent!

This case will have national implications for species threatened by logging under Regional Forest Agreements across the country which will now face much greater scrutiny. 

Just yesterday, the Bob Brown Foundation launched a similar Federal Court case, challenging logging under Regional Forest Agreements in Tasmania’s forests. 

We echo the sentiments of our client, Friends of Leadbeater’s Possum below: 

“We are immensely grateful to the public for the donations that have enabled us to pay the costs of mounting a case on this scale and to all those who have worked on the case and supported us in so many ways on this long and challenging journey. 

And to the surveying team from WOTCH and the expert witnesses who provided an unassailable body of detailed evidence.” 

This is the first time the Federal Court has granted a final injunction to prevent logging of threatened wildlife habitat and the first time Victoria’s logging industry — the largest in Australia — has been held to account under federal environment law for its devastating impacts on endangered wildlife.  

The outcome of this case demonstrates that properly enforcing our environment laws is critical to stem the loss of wildlife in this country. 

We are so thrilled that the Greater Glider and Leadbeater’s Possum in these areas of forest can rest easy for now — protecting these areas of habitat is vital to their recovery.  

We hope this is a message to all industry and governments across the country that if they flout the law at the expense of our threatened wildlife, the community will hold them to account in court.

 

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Sometimes sad and unfair things happen (Vic)

wombat-ill-treatment-Chris-Lehmann

I HAVE BEEN TREATING this wombat for sarcoptic mange since early June. The 2nd major treatment was yesterday afternoon, when myself and the local landowners were enjoying seeing the improved condition and alertness of this animal. She was definitely on the road back to normal.

Julie, who is the landowner, contacted me this afternoon because she found our dear wombat dead on the grass. Someone had deliberately run over her while she was eating grass. The tyre tracks are pretty obvious.

— Chris Lehmann, Facebook post. 23 July 2020

 

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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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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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Urban sprawl threatens Southern Brown Bandicoots — Western Port Bay, Vic

SouthernBrownBandicoot_creditReinerRICHTER

Ecologist Hans Brunner:

Bandicoots, the problems and the answer.

MY CONCERN IS the survival of Southern Brown Bandicoots (SBB) east of Melbourne and especially within the biosphere region around Western Port Bay. This is the site where during the last twenty odd years 95% of them were lost. The reason for the loss of the SBBs was the combination of incompetent and unwillingness by the then governments of Department of Environment and Sustainability, and Parks Victoria, failure to properly protect them there.

(So the very government agencies we expect to uphold the protection of wildlife and habitats are actually failing!  Promoting urban sprawl now is endemic to our culture, our economy?  Editor)

And now, the new Department of Environment, Land, Water & Planning (DELWP) plans to create a large new urban estate adjacent to the Royal Botanical Gardens Cranbourne (RBGC) called the Botanic Ridge & Devon Meadows. This area was previously covered with prime bandicoot habitat land — and now have to be somehow compensated for.

bandicoot_cranbourne8184660

IMAGES: Used with permission from Reiner Richter.

(Strange how the names of some streets and housing estates take on names that represent exactly some of the natural features lost under concrete — “botanic” and “meadows”, editor.)

Since then. I have attended four workshops with DELWP, SBB experts, public servants and environment consultants, about 25 people per session.

I was extremely disappointed that DELWP still insists in the continued use of only narrow corridors as a compensation for the loss of all the SBB habitat. I have earlier explained to them in great detail why these narrow corridors will definitely not be suitable for SBBs. Unfortunately, there seems to be absolutely nothing that I could do to change their mind. They were also not prepared to apply an actual Population Viability Assessment (PVA) to the area. All they did was talk about the use of it, but did not apply it, in order to prove that SBBs could safely survive in these conditions for at least the next hundred years! To me, this looked like 90% of political overbearing and only 10% of environmental input. No way could a PVA pass a test here and neither can artificial and narrow corridors be used for SBBs.

I have therefore consistently insisted that SBBs can now only be properly secured within large reserves surrounded by a predator proof fence. There are several such reserves suitable for this purpose such as the Pines, the Langwarrin Reserve and the Briars. SBBs can then be safely protected from dogs, foxes, feral cats and from competition from rabbits. Why has so much gone wrong with DELWP? Is there not one person among them who understands and loves SBBs enough to give them the deservedly highest protection available?

I now urge DELWP to urgently carry out their obligation and to put those SBBs safely into some large reserves the same way they are protected in the RBGC. I will be extremely frustrated if this is not done. Only the highest possible protection for them can now do.

— Hans Brunner

hansbrunner_1

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