Tag Archives: DELWP

Australia’s culture of killing native animals

The culture or vilification of kangaroos, as “pests” and their killing has become engrained into our history as a macabre type of environmental “management”. It’s rationalized as a human responsibility to control their numbers, as we have changed the environment so much, due to infrastructure and agriculture, to such as way as to encourage their overpopulation and breeding! They thus are condemned for over-populating and causing mayhem, including environmental damage and threats to other species!

The great Canberra “cull” of kangaroos is being considered again, in our so-called “Bush Capital”. It’s an oxymoron, and it’s using kangaroos as a scapegoat for mismanagement and human-caused environmental destruction.


(image: a disturbing picture of the kangaroo "cull", 2009)

In July 2015 Canberra activist Chris Klootwijk, 70,  was arrested for blowing a whistle during the ACT Government sanctioned kangaroo cull which hindered the annual shooting operation.  Klootwijk is accused of hindering the cull workers by making loud noises, which included blowing a whistle.

It is alleged that his actions were designed to scare off kangaroos, making it difficult for them to be shot, and halted the cull for about 45 minutes.

Chris faces fines of up to $30,000 and up to two years in jail if found guilty because the ACT government is positioning the blowing of a whistle as a crime.  Whistles are not weapons, like firearms!

Borobi the blue koala has been announced as the official mascot for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

Koala numbers have plummeted by more than two thirds in less than 20 years in south-east Queensland.

One of Australia’s leading koala experts has labelled this week’s unveiling of the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games mascot an embarrassment. The sad irony is that koala numbers have plummeted. They like the symbolism of our native animals, but not the actual animals!

Tweed Heads ecologist Steve Phillips said the use of a koala as the Gold Coast’s mascot was frustrating. “What we’ve seen is that progressive development, and the end result is that decline [of koalas] is proceeding at pace,” he said. High human population growth on the Coast has seen koala numbers plummet, due to urban sprawl. Some critics hit out at what they believed was state government hypocrisy in using a “vulnerable” species as the Games’ emblem but conservationists said it could actually work in favour of helping the threatened animals.

Federal threatened species commissioner Gregory Andrews denied the outlook for koalas was as dire as conservationists believed.

“I would disagree that the future is so bleak. The future is much rosier than it has been for a long time,” he said.  Human population on the Gold Coast.

Over the past five years, the population of the Greater Port Macquarie region has been growing at an average rate of 1.62% per annum – driven largely by Australia’s massive immigration rates.


(image: http://www.convictcreations.com/animals/dealingwithenvironment.html)

By the mid-nineteenth century as the European settlements grew significantly, a lucrative trade in Koala skins sprung up.  Koala hunters shot, poisoned or snared these animals off their tree perches and bludgeoned them to death and sold their skins for export. The main export markets were the US, Canada and Europe where the Koala’s soft waterproof fur was used to make hats, gloves and fur linings for coats.  (http://panique.com.au/trishansoz/animals/koala.html)

Due to huge public outcry, Koala hunting was banned throughout Australia by 1927.  The importation of Koala skins into the US was also banned in 1927 by President Herbert Hoover while he was Secretary of Commerce.

Today’s threats to koalas are more pedestrian, of deliberate land clearing for urban sprawl.  They are seen as an inevitable victim of our housing-based economy.

Our “environment” department in Victoria, DELWP, plans to “cull” 25,000 kangaroos on public land this year, under permits issued by the Victorian Government.  They plans to kill 8560 red kangaroos and 5170 western grey kangaroos by Parks Victoria in the Murray Sunset National Park, 3000 eastern grey kangaroos by the Commonwealth Department of Defence at Puckapunyal, and 200 eastern grey kangaroos by Gippsland Water at Dustson Downs. DELWP said kangaroo populations were managed to “prevent crashing — or dying in large numbers from starvation ­during droughts — to prevent damage to vulnerable native vegetation and habitat from overgrazing, to allow heavily grazed areas to regenerate or to protect water catchments”.  Rather than magnanimously prevent kangaroos from over-populating and “starving”, its really a thinly mask commercial kill, to keep up the supply of pet food, being trialed in Victoria! (Weekly Times, April 15th, 2016)

The Colonial culture of ignorance, human domination, land clearing, and killing is deeply embedded in Australia’s culture.


In 1863, John Gould was warning of the need for legal protection for native animals: His warnings were visionary, and enlightened.

Short-sighted indeed are the Anglo-Australians, or they would long  ere this have made laws for the preservation of their highly singular,and in many cases noble, indigenous animals; and doubly short-sighted are they for wishing to introduce into Australia the production of other climes. … Let me then urge them to bestir themselves, ere it be too late, to establish laws for the preservation of the large kangaroos, the Emeu and other conspicuous indigenous animals: without some such protection the remnant that is left will soon disappear, to be followed by unavailing regret for the apathy with which they had been previously regarded.


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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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Letter to Minister Neville: from Simon Validzic, Croatia

Dear Minister Neville,

I am writing to ask that you end the trial which involves issuing Authority to Control Wildlife (ATCW) permits and allowing the killed kangaroos to be processed for pet food.

The use of kangaroo carcasses in the pet food trials was supposed to run from 31 March 2014 to 31 March 2016. This time period was not adhered to and it was announced by Minister Jaala Pulford that not only was the trial to continue for another two years but also the Local Government Areas (LGA) would be extended.

There has been absolutely no public consultation regarding the implementation of the trial and no public consultation regarding the extending of the trial. There have been no publically available figures for the number of kangaroos killed and processed for these trials and no reports.

What kind of person would support the killing of majestic, free-living animals (such as kangaroos) and feed them to a caricature of an animal that cannot live a natural life (such as a domestic dog)?

Your department has further announced that a total of 26,785 kangaroos are now due to be killed in what your department terms “Kangaroo Control Works” on public land. The reasons given for this mass slaughter are:

(a) One park which is a habitat for eastern barred bandicoot. The eastern barred bandicoot has lived in harmony with kangaroos long before white man settled there. It is absurd to suggest they cannot live in harmony now. The fact that feral cats and dogs are abundant in Victoria and are a threat to the bandicoot is a far more reasonable assumption.

(b) Three parks which are threatened woodland and vegetation communities and have historically been overgrazed by ‘livestock’. The key words here are ‘overgrazed by livestock’; overgrazing cannot be blamed on kangaroos when these parks are home to deer and rabbits.

(c) Two Department of Defence properties where kangaroos are contained. There is a simple solution to this problem – install kangaroo gates as advised by Department for Environment, Land, Water & Planning (DELWP).

(d) Two Melbourne Water properties where kangaroos are contained. The solution to this is also to install kangaroo gates as advised by DELWP.

(e) Two farm areas belonging to Gippsland Water where overgrazing is stated as a problem. The Kangaroo Management Plan compiled by Gippsland Water is deeply flawed. It shows very little understanding of the basic requirements for counting kangaroos or understanding the basic requirements and comprehension of Carrying Capacity and Dry Sheep Equivalent (DSE); both of which are vital in determining the amount of fodder cattle and kangaroos are eating.

Note: 1 sheep eats as much as 5 full-grown kangaroos. 2.5 rabbits eat as much as 1 full-grown kangaroo; rabbits are also browsers. 1 cow/steer eats as much as 60 full-grown kangaroos. 1 large deer eats as much as 50 full-grown kangaroos; deer are also browsers. 1 goat eats as much as 5 full-grown kangaroos; goats are also browsers.

There has never been a count of kangaroos in Victoria which means that your department has absolutely no knowledge regarding the kangaroo population. Yet your department continues to issue authorizations for the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of kangaroos without any credible science to back up your actions.

Of all states in Australia, Victoria is the worst when it comes to destruction of natural ecosystems. The continuing urban sprawl and expansion of other non-indigenous human activities has pushed all native animals into rural areas, but this fact is neither understood nor acknowledged by the government or farmers. It is necessary to plan connecting corridors so that kangaroos are able to join other populations and maintain genetic diversity.

I lived in Victoria from 1970 to 1992 and never saw a kangaroo in the wild. Since I am opposed to the white colonization of Australia (and North and South America) and the expansion of human activity into natural ecosystems, I returned to my country of origin and encourage others to do the same. Croatia is a relatively good example of humans co-existing with native animals, such as deer and bears.


Despite the DELWP clearly stipulating that all non-lethal measures must be exhausted before protected native animals can be killed, little effort has been made to utilize non-lethal alternatives.

This slaughter of protected native animals is cruel and unnecessary. I wish to support the animal advocates of Victoria and ask that you stop this unnecessary killing of kangaroos.

Yours sincerely,

Simon Validzic
website: www.animal-friends-croatia.org


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Pet food “trail” of kangaroo meat inevitably a success!

About 71,000 kangaroos across Victoria have been used to make pet food as part of the trial to reduce waste from legal culling. The trial – which covers 16 local government areas including Southern Grampians and Glenelg shires – is due to end in March next year. The initial two-year trial was extended by two years – was it ever going to be questioned, or abandoned?

So the liberal distribution of Authority to Control (kill) Wildlife (ATCW) has inadvertently produced “waste” kangaroo meat? The kangaroos causing alleged “damage” to land-holders’ property can be shot and instead of being left to rot, and waste, can now produced meat for pets? How convenient? Rather than damage-control, sounds more like an industry thinly disguised as Management!

The word “cull” is a misnomer too. It’s a word to describe to kill the weaker animals in a group in order to reduce their numbers. To save remaining herds and habitat… (Collins English Dictionary). On the contrary, this killing is about profits, of killing the best of the stock, not weaker animals. The best pet food would not be those that are dying and sick, but healthy, visible and viable as a commercial product!

Victorian Pet Food Processors operations manager David Preece said “the trial had provided jobs for about 25 people and provided other workers with more hours.” So it was inevitable that the so-called “trial” would be successful, due to economic benefits and jobs?

The intent of this kangaroo pet meat trial has nothing to do with environmental values, conservation, animals welfare, protection of our ancient and iconic species, or touristic revenues. It’s about $$$ and denuding the State of “pest” kangaroos!

DELWP and Primesafe claim that … “the trial is not intended to increase the number of kangaroos controlled, rather it is to reduce the waste of carcasses from kangaroos that would have been controlled regardless of the trial…”  So, the fact that land-holders, shooters and processors and the rest of the supply chain are rewarded economically has nothing to do with the increased number of kangaroos being “controlled”?

Magnanimously, on its website, DELWP said kangaroo populations were managed to “prevent crashing — or dying in large numbers from starvation ­during droughts — to prevent damage to vulnerable native vegetation and habitat from overgrazing, to allow heavily grazed areas to regenerate or to protect water catchments”.  So they *might starve*, so kill them first?

Back in 2016, 25,000 roos were set to be “managed”, but now it’s 71,000?  According to The Age article, the number of Eastern Grey kangaroos allowed to be killed in Victoria had more than doubled in the two years the government has permitted the commercial processing of kangaroo meat. 

DELWP and Primesafe claim that “the trial does not change the requirement for a landholder applying for an ATCW to demonstrate that kangaroos are causing damage to their property….”  Just now many compliant officers are available to check the properties of each ATCW applicant and recommend alternative, non-lethal control methods?

(Hon Liliana (Lily) D'Ambrosio, Minister for Energy, Environment)and Climate Change)
The kangaroo meat ‘trial’ was never meant to be scrapped, or really be a ‘trail”, but a method  of introducing a commercial kangaroo meat industry into Victoria, by stealth!






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


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.


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


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Wildlife carers quitting after 30 years due to DELWP’s hostility towards kangaroos

Kangaroos nursed back to health after a planned fire escalated out of control now face a cull on the orders of the same department that ordered the burn. The very same department, DELWP, responsible for the care of wildlife, actually turned tail and permitted a “cull” of kangaroos, despite being tirelessly and lovingly nursed back to health by wildlife carers!

After a planned burn that started the Lancefield fire, they approved a six-month culling permit for the owner of a property that borders the shelter  – because of “damage caused by the kangaroos to the land”, where he runs sheep, and fences.  Surely more “damage” would be done by sheep than kangaroos?  However, the latter animals are economic assets, whereas kangaroos only have economic value when dead – for the pet meat trade!

The Authority to Control Wildlife permit application was approved, thanks to the farmer citing his desire to repasturise the land.  So, he can’t live harmoniously with native animals than have a minimal impact on grasslands?  This farmer got the go ahead to kill kangaroos on his property, which neighbours the Macedon Ranges (Victoria) Pastoria East Wildlife Shelter“All of the wild kangaroos here have been through that fire, they’ve all been impacted by it. They’ve lost habitat and food, they’ve been traumatised,” owner Christine Litchfield said.

Wildlife carers Ms Litchfield and Mr Ward say they are bemused by the department’s “heartbreaking” decision, considering DELWP formerly praised the work of the pair and wanted photos for an internal magazine!

“… Keep in mind we’re in a conservation zone, we are up against a large crown land forest. The idea that you’re going to kill kangaroos to stop this problem is unlikely to work completely,” Marcus Ward said.  What part of “conservation” do DELWP not understand?  What sort of Department, except an Orwellian one, would endorse the care and protection of wildlife – injured by their own “controlled burn” that got out of control – and also permit their “cull”?


Wildlife carers say they cannot continue to nurse injured kangaroos back to health only to risk having them shot by a neighbouring farmer once they are released.  These amazing people spend their own time and money on compassion and care for injured animals, only to have them lethally “managed”!  Marcus Ward, owner of the Pastoria East Wild Life Shelter, says he will have to close his doors after 30 years.

Under such a contradictory and twisted State government Department, presumably meant to be responsible for our wildlife, administer the Wildlife Act 1975, but at the same time approve of “culls” and the kangaroo meat industry in Victoria!  They can’t be the carers, conservationists and the killers at the same time – they are deeply embedded in conflicts of interests.

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) decided not to prosecute the neighbouring property owner for animal cruelty, after kangaroos were shot in the body and left to bleed to death.  So, what and when do they actually do to protect wildlife in Victoria?


“We can’t continue… knowing any animal that comes here is under risk,” Mr Ward said.

“That won’t change until we’re confident the culling won’t proceed.”  Without Macedon Ranges’ Pastoria East Wildlife Shelter, Mr Ward said rescuers had few local options for shelters to take kangaroos.

“The shelter in Kilmore is overloaded from the area, and the one in Hepburn that we rely on a lot closed their doors to any new animals last week,” he said.

Native animals, especially kangaroos, are enemies of Victoria, and land-holders – apparently.   The facade that DELWP have any care of responsibility for native animals is becoming thinner and they are being exposed as more interested in commercial kangaroo meat – and cleansing the State of our iconic native animals – in the name of “progress” and profits!


PETITION: Call of plan to “cull” kangaroos


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