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Your help needed to prosecute for wildlife massacre in Northern NSW

End Australian culture of contempt for wildlife

Tell www.candobetter.org of outstanding cases and neglect by government departments. Register, Log in and Write. Under current law people who harm protected habitat and species are criminals. Yet they almost always go unprosecuted, despite the widespread support for wildlife among the common people of Australia.

Political pressure needed for Prosecution for massacre of Wildlife

Wildlife activist, David Pinson, (stickeebatz|AT|gmail.com); FFICN|AT|yahoogroups.com.au;
needs help to obtain prosecution against clearing of endangered ecological community and flying-fox habitat and habitat for other threatened species at Dulguigan, near Murwillumbah, in northern NSW. See details below.

Put politicians' names to the crime: Make them enforce the law

Public pressure needs to be placed on the NSW and Commonwealth Departments responsible for prosecution and enforcement of laws to protect wildlife and habitat in this case as in many others. Flying foxes are, of course, not the only animals suffering from the negligence of our government towards protecting native wildlife from cruelty and outright extermination and extinction.

Politicians’ names: Malcolm Turnbull, Phil Koperberg, Morris Iemma, Justine Elliot. Contact details end this article.

Education: See here on youtube for an educational film about a flying fox featuring wildlife carer, Julia Buch.

The crime

Two hectares of endangered Swamp Sclerophyll ecological community has been cleared on private property. This vegetation was the roosting habitat for about 6,400 (December 2006 count) Grey-headed flying-foxes and Black flying-foxes (both of whom are listed as vulnerable species in NSW), and functioned as a maternity site.

Apparently evidence exists to think that the vegetation was cleared in order to get rid of the flying-fox camp.

The suspects

There appears to be a trail in records of complaints from human residents on the property or properties about the presence of flying-foxes; anti-flying-fox meetings held regularly; intervention by the local DECC ranger to stop further instances of purposeful harassment of the flying fox population with loud noise in 2006, and two other instances of land-clearing of ‘bat camp’ habitat without permits in the Tweed area. These took place in 2004 at the Dallis Park colony and at the Chinderah Road camp.

Apart from prosecuting the perpetrators of this damage to local and aggregate national and international biodiversity and natural amenity caused by the Dulguigan clearing, the Department should be reinforcing protection of wildlife and their habitat against further harassment and destruction. Members of Parliament need to come out in force to ensure that the law is visibly and seriously enforced to condemn cheap contempt for wildlife of all kinds, also bearing in mind that land-clearing, as well as being cruel, leads to soil destruction and carbon-gas emissions increase, which are of great public concern.

The Laws

The clearing probably constitutes breaches of the National Parks and Wildlife Act of 1974 - harming a threatened species or endangered ecological community (s 118A); and damage to the habitat of threatened species (s 118D)-and the Native Vegetation Act 2003-clearing of remnant vegetation (being protected native vegetation) without approval (s 12). This clearing may also breach the EPBC act 1999.

Role of Department of Environment and Climate Change (DECC)

DECC has been requested to fully investigate and seek to have the perpetrators punished sufficiently to deter others and required to revegetate the area cleared.

DECC has also been asked to properly implement their policy on management of flying-fox camps by undertaking education and media campaigns to foster better understanding of flying-foxes and support for their conservation.

DECC has been requested to explain why, despite legislation, illegal acts of habitat clearance for threatened species such as this, are still going un-prosecuted.

Information regarding the clearing, and current state of investigation into the matter can be obtained from DECC offices in Murwillumbah and Grafton.

Why humans should love and protect flying foxes and all wildlife

Flying foxes, as well as being delightful social animals with complex societies, are also, like birds, major agents of soil renewal through their rich droppings. (So are all other wildlife forms, including the huge contribution of soil organisms, but the avian creatures have a particular role to play which human beings cannot reproduce.) The work of such animals is far more efficient and effective than any modern fertilizer dissemination. Unfortunately it is free and, in our commercially focused society, anything free generates contempt and disbelief about its benefits.

Wildlife population control

Just about everything humans are doing to regulate wildlife populations of other animals as well as flying foxes is making matters worse. Flying foxes like all animals are capable of regulating their own populations if those populations are not fragmented. Increasing fragmentation leads to disorganization of population spacing algorithms, leading to opportunistic small-scale ‘plagues’ and then busts, with the final outcome being extinction. These animals need large protected areas and human economies are dysfunctional if they cannot perform without destroying such areas; we need to integrate with the local biodiversity, not expect them to integrate with us. We are impoverished culturally by our inability to enjoy the wildlife around us. And the cruelty involved depraves us.

Farming needs to be adapted locally to cooperate with these populations. The benefit of flying fox guano as with bird guano needs to be understood. See Montgomery, D., Dirt, The Erosion of Civilisations, UCP, Berkley, 2007, pp 185-88. For some literature to start with on population spacing, apart from my own research in progress, which I intend to make available at candobetter.org/sheila soon, see, for instance: Jerry .O. Wolff, “Density-dependence and the socioecology of space use in rodents,” Department of Biology, The University of Memphis, Memphis, TN 38152, USA. Note, however, that flying foxes are not rodents.:-)]

Sheila Newman
Vice President, Sustainable Population Australia, Victorian Branch
SPA Vic is a member of the Coalition for Wildlife Corridors see www.awpc.org.au

Politicians' Contact details

Malcolm Turnbull M.P. - Federal Minister for the Environment and Water Resources
malcolm.turnbull.MP|AT|aph.gov.au,
PO Box 1840, Bondi Junction NSW 1355
PO Box 1840, Bondi Junction NSW 1355;

The Hon. Phil Koperberg M.P.
- NSW Minister - Department of Environment and Climate Change
office|AT|koperberg.minister.nsw.gov.au
Postal Address: PO BOX A290 , SYDNEY SOUTH NSW 1232;

The Hon. Morris Iemma M.P. - NSW Premier thepremier|AT|www.nsw.gov.au Governor Macquarie Tower. Level 40, 1 Farrer Place, SYDNEY NSW 2000

The Hon. Justine Elliott M.P. - member for Richmond - House of Representatives
Justine.Elliot.MP|AT|aph.gov.au
Electorate Office Postal Address: PO Box 6996. Tweed Heads South NSW 2486