Tag Archives: Victoria

NSW guilty of koala habitat vandalism

Sent to:
Minister for Environment, NSW Gabrielle Upton,
Premier of NSW, Gladys Berejiklian

Dear Premier and Minister,

I am writing on behalf of the Australian Wildlife Protection Council, a group that’s been in operation since 1969 as a voice for wildlife, and issues relating to their conservation and welfare.

We are horrified and deeply concerned to read a report in the media about annihilation of koala habitats. Freedom of information request by North Coast Environment Council (NCEC) exposed that the state-owned corporation, Forestry Corporation, has conducted “unauthorised” clearing and intensive logging across 74,906 hectares of public native forests between Coffs Harbour and Taree since 2006! So this covert operation, illegal and lethal, has been allowed to continue for over a decade without intervention?

Documents show clearing of koala habitat

How are we meant to be assured that wildlife in Australia have ANY legal protection or status when such blatant and long-term vandalism is allowed? Surely this can’t be covered-up for such a long time with collaboration between logging industry and government?

(image: https://www.thinglink.com/scene/651223076586913794)

NCEC spokeswoman Susie Russell said: “Public native forest has been cleared and converting it to quasi-plantation. What is meant to be multi aged forests, with diverse under-stories, providing habitat for a plethora of native animals, is being converted into younger and younger regrowth where the under-storey is bulldozed bare.”

So public native forests have now transitioned to an industry resource, rather than being “public” and a reserve for rightful inhabitants- native animals?

“Many animals, including koalas, need the resources provided by older trees to survive.” How would we survive if bulldozers were allowed to demolish our homes, and leave us without food or protection? She said that about one in every three hectares of forest cleared was high quality koala habitat, according to the mapping recently released by the Environment Protection Authority.

“Now we can see why koala numbers have declined by 50 per cent on the north coast in the last 15-20 years.”

This is an appalling case, of koala genocide in the name of $$$ – in a country famous and renown as a leading mammal exterminator!

WWF say that once the habitat has been redeveloped, that this brought new threats to the koala, such as more cars, more dogs, “more accidents waiting to happen for koalas.” So “redeveloped” habitat is a grotesque euphemism for vandalism of habitat, of destruction by bull-dozing?

Numbers of koalas are down 53 per cent on average in Queensland, 26 per cent in NSW and in a pocket ironically known as the Koala Coast, numbers have declined by 80 per cent over the past two decades. What sort of nation are we, to just kill off so callously, for short term profits , the animals we are famous for?

WWF has warned of “localised extinctions” if more was not done to stop development encroaching on koala habitats. “Government has to bite the bullet and put in strong protections, not just for koalas but for all our wildlife,” conservation manager for WWF, Dr Taylor, says!

Extinction is not an event, but a process – and each tree cleared, each patch of habitat destroyed, means fewer koalas!

We demand a response to this horrific situation, and ask to put an end to land clearing in NSW. We demand higher levels of protection to all wildlife – especially koalas.. Indigenous wildlife should not have to justify their existence, or be priced out of their homes and lives!!

Thank you
Vivienne Ortega, secretary AWPC
Eve Kelly, Treasurer
Sheila Newman, Policy adviser, and Evolutionary Sociologist
Michael Bayliss,
President, Sustainable Population Australia Victorian and Tasmanian branch
PO Box 556
Hawthorn 3122
bayliss.michael@gmail.com

Dr. Ernest Healy
President, Protectors of Public Lands, Victoria
P.O.Box 197 Parkville 3152
ernest.healy@monash.edu

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Petition: Protect our native waterbirds – Ban duck shooting!

Please help our native waterbirds by lobbying to put an end to this cruelty and ban recreational duck shooting once and for all.

US ballistics expert and duck shooter, Tom Roster, has shown that at least one in four birds targeted are not killed but wounded (this figure was recognised by Victoria’s Department of Sustainability and Environment)

Shotguns spray hundreds of small pellets, resulting in ducks with fractured or broken legs, or legs shot off entirely, shattered bills, splintered wings, pellets through eyes and gunshot lodged in organs, muscles and tendons. This is grotesque cruelty and wounded birds face a slow, painful death. Rescuers have often seen birds stuffed into shooters’ bags while still alive.

Injured Eurasian Coot - Kerang -17.5 Kim Wormald

(image: This wounded protected Eurasian Coot was recovered by rescuers at Lake Murphy on May 17. It was treated by a wildlife carer and released at a sanctuary last weekend. Photo by Kim Wormald)

The opening weekend attracted 14,000 hunters across the state, with 26,000 people authorised to hunt ducks. The government says a survey of the state’s 47,000 licensed game hunters found the industry was worth almost $440 million a year. It seems that even the tiniest creature has economic value, equated in dollars!

Laurie Levy, the campaign director with the Coalition Against Duck Shooting, has been an outspoken critic of the industry. “We had rescuers out every weekend of the duck shooting season,” he said.

Again this year, as well as protected and threatened species, lots of so called ‘game’ birds were saved from the shooters’ guns or recovered by rescuers, either dead or wounded.

Despite the dry and quiet season, 10 illegally shot threatened Freckled Ducks, Blue-billed Ducks and Musk Ducks were recovered by rescuers, as well as Swans, Hoary-headed Grebes, over 20 Eurasian Coot and other protected species.

Previous Labor governments in WA, NSW and Queensland have banned the barbaric activity, yet the Victorian Labor party still supports this grotesque cruelty.

(featured image: Freckled duck, Victoria. During the season, rescuers recovered over 100 dead or wounded waterbirds, including illegally shot threatened species such as Freckled Ducks, Blue-billed Ducks and Musk Ducks, as well as protected Hoary-headed Grebes, Eurasian Coots and a Swan)


Petition: Protect our native waterbirds – Ban duck shooting!

Letter to: Premier of Victoria Daniel Andrews, Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford

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Southern Brown Bandicoot’s declining numbers in south east Victoria

THE federal Department of the Environment earlier this was trying to take the southern brown bandicoot off its threatened species list. However, Federal Environment minister Greg Hunt rejected claims his government doing this. He was responding to an article pub­lished in The Times last month (‘Bandicoot under threat from govt’, The Times 26/1/15).

In 2001 when the species was put on the endangered list, a SBB recovery groups was establish and they were selected as the flagship species in the Western Port Biosphere Reserve, to receive special attention. Hundreds of people, including scientists and government agencies, private consultants and landholders had workshops, and the Victorian government created strategy after strategy to protect them, but nothing worked.

A proposal for habitat corridors for the SBB in the draft Biodiversity Conservation Strategy, released in 2011, was withdrawn by the State Government and revised using consultation. The proposal is that there should be at least two 80m wide corridors leading to reserves to the south and reserves or Green Wedge land to the east – to ensure the sustainability of the species. The former Growling Grass Frog corridor along Clyde Creek should be reinstated.

There is too much of the Biodiversity Conservation Strategy that’s left to the Precinct Structure Planning process, rather than an independent role of a monitor to ensure impartiality.

In March 2014, the Coalition state government removed habitat corridors from its plans to protect the southern brown bandicoot in the southeast. and DEPI and Parks Victoria declared a secret war on Southern Brown Bandicoot ~ April 2014

Once common in the south-east, now, just two viable populations remain in the region – at Royal Botanic Gardens in Cranbourne and in undeveloped parts of Koo Wee Rup at the northern end of Western Port. A third population on Quail Island in Western Port has been decimated by wild pigs released on the island by hunters. The SBB is listed as an important component of the Ecological Character of the Western Port Bay Ramsar site and there is continuity of local populations of bandicoots with areas traversed by the Koo Wee Rup Bypass

Southern_Brown_Bandicoot_Victoria(image: Southern Brown Bandicoot, Cranbourne Vic 1984)

They proposed to conduct regulars fox and cat control programs in the Pines for the protection of this species, knowing very well that SBB’s are not there anymore.(Already costing well over $ 100.000.00) They refuse to install a predator-proof fence around the Pines which is the only realistic way to protect the SBB in the Pines ones re-introduced. (They just want that money)

Ecologist Hans Brunner, from Frankston, has been involved with Southern Brown Bandicoots (SBB) for more than 40 years. He vividly remembers finding SBB all over the Mornington Peninsula, in the Frankston area, and especially in the Pines Flora and Fauna Reserve which had the larges and strongest colony in the region. Sadly, they have silently disappeared and in many places they’ve become extinct!

How could this happen?

Local wildlife expert Mr Legg said evidence of SBB populations recovering in a couple of places in Australia was no reason to remove legal protection. He had “reluctantly watched the crash and local extinction of SBB populations across the southeastern suburbs of greater Melbourne and within the Western Port catchment” over the past three decades.

The SBB is facing strong competition from housing growth, and urbanisation. The number of dwellings in Mornington Peninsula Shire is forecast to grow from 84,177 in 2011 to 95,955 in 2026. It’s the housing industry that’s become Victoria’s greatest growth industry, and the urban growth boundary is a slippery concept, that keeps expanding with population growth.

At least $120,000 was spent on fox and cat control, while some SBBs remained. It was unsuccessful. Protecting SBB in the region is a grand failure. What’s needed are large reserves surrounded by predator-proof fences. Some insurance colonies are need, with the rest surviving in the wild.

What’s to be gained by de-listing the SBB? Money will be saved by not having to spend in fox and cat control, and developers will be given more permits to build housing.

Jennifer Cunich, executive director of the Property Council, of course would not endorse any expansion of wildlife corridors. She dismissed any science, and any scheme would be of little benefit. It would be like a brewery recommending an AA group!

The SBB is restricted to remnant and exotic vegetation along drains and road reserves in the project area and surrounding landscape which provides cover from predators.

The VicRoads Bypass alignment intersects habitat for the SBB along the existing Healesville Koo Wee Rup Road to the south of Manks Road and core habitat of the Dalmore Koo Wee Rup Cluster of bandicoots at Railway Road/disused South Gippsland Railway Line and levees of the Bunyip River Drain Complex.

There’s no room for complacency, or sitting back watching decline. What’s needed now is to repopulate the Pines Flora and Fauna Reserve, and protect the colonies at Cranbourne Botanic gardens. Australia has the highest mammal extinction rate of the modern world, and any “fauna” reserve and green wedges must have local native species. It’s easy to say there are “plenty” elsewhere, but extinction is a process, not one event, and allowing local extinctions is part of a process that MUST stop!

Screenshot from 2015-05-07 10:44:08

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