The Australian Wildlife Protection Council (AWPC) was able to help citizen advocates generate a groundswell of public awareness and fight-back in June and July 2022 against the now annual ‘cull’ in Canberra of the kangaroo (our icon holding up one side of the federal coat-of-arms). Whole kangaroo families are shot behind suburban backyards — for reasons that remain unclear despite government blame-the-victim narratives — on nature reserves in the national capital.
Australian Wildlife Protection Council
Eve Kelly, who is the very hard working Secretary for the Australian Wildlife Protection Council (AWPC), is also a wonderful singer and songwriter. She composed and performed this song with Josh Geoghegan. She then uploaded pictures of rescued baby wildlife from friends and contacts all over the place. So the song is illustrated with many wonderful pictures - in fact, they get better as it goes on. It will probably make you sniffle a bit but you will feel better to know that Eve is working for AWPC. Please consider donating to AWPC here and here online. The money will be very well spent. AWPC is engaged at a level I have not seen before for wildlife or wildlife carers. Such is the predicament of our wildlife in the face of 'planning' and population growth and the most unsympathetic government departments you could imagine.
I found what struck me personally as egregious growthist propaganda dressed up as an academic research article on The Conversation, yesterday: "Blaming immigrants for unemployment, lower wages and high house prices is too simplistic." [February 23, 2018 11.26am AEDT]. The article was headed up by professor of economics, Robert Breunig from the Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University, and co-authored by Mark Fabian, Postgraduate student, Australian National University. Professor Breunig disclosed that he receives funding from the Productivity Commission, which I think is a leopard with continuously changing arrangement of spots according to whatever political background it needs to blend into for survival. Leith van Onselen's debate with Migration Council's CEO Carla Wilshire of the on the ABC’s National Wrapdocumented here, seems to illustrate this, but for all I know the professor and his student actually believe what they write.
Jobs! The plaintive refrain and the crocodile tears...
Criticising ex-PM Tony Abbott's extremely belated calls for reducing Australia's immigration-fed overpopulation problems, Breunig and Fabian write, “But migrants also bring capital, investing in houses, appliances, businesses, education and many other things. This increases economic activity and the number of jobs available.” It sounds like they are describing molecules in a heated gas.
Increasing economic activity increases impact on our environment and politically disempowers us
Increasing economic activity increases impact on our environment and politically disempowers us. Massive population growth in this country is removing our choices of what we can buy with money, whilst inflating the cost of the reduced amenity and shelter that population growth is causing. That's impoverishing. Just on the business side, the cost of premises and paying wages so that employees can afford housing makes Australian businesses globally uncompetitive and provides an explanation for their mysteriously high rate of failure.
I am going to talk about how changes to laws and standards as to how our natural environment and urban spaces are treated and our rights within them are taking place without any meaningful public discussion or empowerment in order to allow growth to proceed.
Breunig and Fabian's article completely ignores the beautiful non-human environment we have in Australia, the green bits of which are being cut up into biogeographical islands, then paved over, subdivided and sold for ever higher monetary value. I suspect this failure to engage with nature is because its writers currently live in a bubble and simply don’t know or care about wildlife or green spaces or have compartmentalised this reality. So they are writing without my values or those of many other Australians or the values that attracted many immigrants.
Although there are laws for the protection of wildlife in this country, they are simply not applied. This is one reason that population growth can continue, for the recently beefed up Prevention of Cruelty Act 1986, the Fauna and Flora Guarantee Act 1988 and the Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994 would otherwise prevent the big business and government agenda for a big human population and infrastructure expansion.
Who cleans up the blood and guts as humans overrun nature?
I am, however, acutely aware, because I am involved personally, of how various authorities and contractors are expecting local wildlife carers and rescuers to clean up the huge callous mess and damage to flesh and blood that they are causing. Carers and rescuers are paying for artifical nests, feeding, nursing and medicating so many injured and displaced animals. Then those carers have to find some other place to release them, as habitat is destroyed all around them, whilst people like the authors of this article I am commenting on are claiming that the only problem about housing is failure to release land. We on this side of reality are fighting to stop the ‘release’ of land to bitumen and profit for a few in the growth lobby. (I am also qualified to talk about the growth lobby because I was the first person to write about it in Australia in a 2002 thesis - The Growth lobby in Australia and its Absence in France - which compared our system to the French one, which latter costs population growth as a cost to the public purse.)
Here are some examples of the callous vandalism that is taking place as we speak:
I live in Victoria and currently VicRoads and Melbourne Water are removing an extraordinary number of trees. For the expansion of the Melbourne metro rail project (which aims to cater for our artificially stimulated population growth) I have been informed that around 800 trees are being removed from urban Melbourne. Most of these are large mature trees, which have provided shade and enjoyment to people, and habitat for Australian wildlife, including birds and mammals. The public has not been consulted in any meaningful way about this. The St Kilda Road Avenue that leads to the war memorial and the botanic gardens, has been vandalised for this purpose. This avenue is a feature of Melbourne not unlike the Champs Elysees of Paris. To vandalise this is equivalent to a resounding slap across the face by Melbourne Planners of citizens who grew up here. Many find it shocking and distressing as a recent protest shows. /node/5413
But wait, there's more....
But it is not just rail changes that are destroying wildlife habitat. Melbourne Roads have recently changed their policy on roadside and median strip vegetation, with absolutely devastating results for local climate, ammenity and habitat: /node/5304
Then Melbourne water is now treating small local retardant basins as major dams, under the ANCOLD guidelines. Why are small retarding basins being treated as major dams? Because our 60% immigration fueled population growth has caused urban densification and the proliferation of hard surfaces. Although this was predicted by residents with foresight in many VCAT battles, these hard surfaces now carry the threat of major floods, so the small retarding basins that were adequate for many decades, now are deemed in need of reinforcement to bring them up to major dam status!
What has this got to do with trees and wildlife habitat and human amenity, you ask?
These new ANCOLD guidelines require the removal of all trees from ‘batters’ or dam banks. Since previous thinking caused the planting of trees because trees stabilise earth-forms, this ‘new’ thinking requires the removal of another huge quantity of mature trees, denuding much parkland throughout Victoria. Can you blame me if I suspect this is also to suit private developers and people who want land ‘released’ [from the commons and nature]?
The implications of these ANCOLD guidelines (which are now an Australian standard that is threatening green spaces all over the green bits surrounding this 70% hot desert and rangeland island) are staggering for the green wedges that follow Victoria’s rivers and creeks, their canopies cooling our environment through transpirational heat exchange, lowering water tables through the same transpiration, providing habitat for our wildlife and a green commons for our human spirits. Melbourne Water is in charge of more than 200 such basins. It pretends to follow guidelines to protect the displaced wildlife but in fact it does not have plans in place for their survival and reestablishment. It invites people to ‘revegetate’ what it has devastated, but our wildlife cannot wait for 25 yrs while trees grow to maturity, or 100 yrs plus until natural hollows occur. And the cheek of Melbourne Water to invite the people for whom its works have diminished their natural ammenity to replant such areas and not be paid! Insults added to injury. If you want to read more about this scandal, and its impact on wildlife, community and democracy, have a look at /node/5401 and https://awpc.org.au/awpc-to-melbourne-water-response-on-tree-removal-lee-st-retardant-basin/. Furthermore, there is a rumour that the Federal government is planning to make work like tree-planting mandatory for environmental organisations to qualify as tax-deductible. Slave labour for public works damage! And when every government leads with the plaintive cry of "Jobs!" This is where the labour is required.
Still more ... Cull permits for gentlemen farmers
And it doesn’t stop there. Big money in densifying rural areas is impeding the passage of kangaroos to their feeding grounds, with the usual myth [See https://awpc.org.au/roo-scientists-admit-industry-stimulates-roo-population-growth-whilst-calling-roos-pests/ ] that there are ‘too many’ - a hollow farce familiar to the wildlife carers who must deal with the injuries that come from ‘gentlemen farmers’ taking potshots with permission from the ever generous and poorly overseen permissions to cull issued by DWELP: https://awpc.org.au/awpc-speak-out-against-the-culling-of-kangaroos-in-cape-schanck/.
And more ... Freeways and tollroads devastate our landscapes and wildlife
And then there are there is the devastation caused by freeways and tollways created to ‘solve’ the congestion problems created by overpopulation. Money given to Parks Victoria by Peninsula Link for predator proof fences around scarce bandicoot habitat has been diverted to another program far from the original area, consolidating the damage that wildlife campaigners thought they might have mitigated in this place.
And don't rely on Parks Victoria to help the situation ...
Australian Wildlife Protection Council
And the examples I give here are actually taking place at the mouth of the Mornington Peninsula Biosphere - scheduled for densification, of course. Shame!
It is not the big-name conservation organisations but the hands on volunteers in organisations like AWPC (whose articles I have used as examples) that are doing the hard yards in this vicious losing battle against a delusional ideology fueled by speculative money that wants to increase human population despite our population being bigger by an order of magnitude than it has ever been for the bulk of its history. Does economics totally lack a sense of proportion or irony? The King Midas myth and the magic pudding pale against the science of modern economics which seems so similar to 17th century economics and official religion.
The notions put forward in the article I am commenting on simply stagger me in their unreal, coldly irrational model of the world we live in, biological human values, and what passes in The Conversation for research and analysis. Unfortunately these are the dominant models and values that are then acted on by governments and their contractors, in a great tragedy for this beautiful and fragile land that gives us all life.
Wildlife rescuer and carer, Rebecca Koller, has observed an unprecedented number of Spectacled flying fox casualties in a traditional breeding site located near a new hotel construction in Cairnes. The spectacled flying fox is a threatened species. Despite many attempts to get the Australian government to investigate and or intervene, the government has failed to get back to her. This is even though the problem has received extensive publicity and the species is about to have its threatened status upgraded from vulnerable to endangered. The source of this article is correspondence between Ms Koller and The Australian Wildlife Protection Council.
On Wed, 3 Jan 2018 at 11:51 AM, Rebecca Koller wrote to Craig Thomson, the president of the Australian Wildlife Protection Council (AWPC), asking for his advice and or assistance based on his knowledge of our government and wildlife protection.
Ms Koller is a flying fox carer from Far North Queensland and the Wildlife advisor of the Cairns Flying Fox advisory board.
Here is the website she posts to: https://www.ouranimalsourearth.com/
She has been documenting the Spectacled flying fox deaths and orphans at the Cairns Library flying fox colony. Despite numerous attempts, she had received no communication from the Australian federal government regarding her requests for it to intervene or investigate the unprecedented number of pups from this breeding season found dead or orphaned.
The camp referred to carries about 4000 flying foxes. Ms Koller says that this is a huge reduction on previous seasons. Since September 15th 2017, there were 898 flying foxes dead or orphaned from this one camp, compared with 366 last season. In her opinion and that of other wildlife carers, the increased casualties are attributable to the construction work directly across from the roost trees.
Listen to a really informative ABC FM interview with Rebecca Koller on the flying foxes:
Wildlife carer observations deserve respect; they are often all we have
The Cairns Library Colony flying fox camp is considered federally of national significance. Ms Koller has been documenting both orphans and deaths . See the record of deaths and orphans for this season and the previous one. (Females spectacled flying foxes give birth to one young per year, in the October to December period. Juveniles are nursed for over five months and, on weaning, congregate in nursery trees in the colony.)
This record of casualties in the colony has been criticised as only "anecdotal and observatory" by a spokesperson for the company, who says there is no history for comparison. Candobetter.net would say that careful observations from wildlife carers, who know the history of the colony and can point to photographs of corpses and to the animals in their care, cannot and should not be dismissed so easily. If this is the only source of a count on this species, then it is precious and deserves respect. We note that official counts do not monitor the Cairns breeding colonies, which is convenient for the massive development going on there, but needs urgently to be remedied.
The construction company began building what will be a multimillion dollar hotel development just prior to the birthing season. Ms Koller describes, as the only new factors in this birthing season from the previous one, the clearing of trees once occupied by the flying foxes, the presence of equipment such as pile drivers, and multiple cranes, with arms swinging directly over the roost trees. She says she has written to EHP, the threatened species commissioner, the media, and raised the subject in council meetings on numerous occasions but to no avail.
Greater protection needs to be afforded to the animals due to their decline as a species, their importance as a keystone species and the significance of this particular maternity camp.
Where to make Go Fund Me contributions to the Spectacled flying foxes in Cairns
Ms Koller has over 50 orphans in her care and had to arrange the transport of 100 orphans to the Australian Bat Clinic in Brisbane, because there were simply not enough carers in her area to cope with the number of flying foxes orphaned this season. Ms Koller crowd funded money to help support carers’ costs to care for these animals. See the wonderful baby bat pictures at https://www.gofundme.com/4m5qayg. Although she raised just over $10,000, all of this has already been used up for necessary supplies. There are still three to four unfunded months remaining before carers can begin to release the flying foxes they have raised. In addition, the birthing season has not yet ended and rescuers are still finding dead and orphaned on a daily basis.
Ms Koller met with the ecologist conducting the monitoring for the construction company and has been keeping him abreast of the bat casualty totals this year compared to the previous year.
Flying Foxes, Government, wildlife carers and wildlife protection on the ground
Craig Thomson, President of Australian Wildlife Protection Council (AWPC), congratulated Ms Koller on her actions to date and commented,
”The information to be found about this flying fox species, is a perfect example of both federal and state governments appearing to do the right thing by undertaking steps to improve protection. Such protection is, unfortunately, rarely if ever enacted or carried out on the ground, leading to the species’ existence being threatened further.”
“This is highlighted with the Spectacled flying fox species being listed as vulnerable in 2002 and a more recent public consultation seeking recommendations for its conservation status at the end of 2016.
“It would be interesting to know if the Spectacled flying fox conservation status is to be upgraded from this process or whether it was part of the work that the officer Rebecca Koller has had correspondence with, stating that "federal and state governments were working to have the same conservation status for the species".
Mr Thomson added,
“It seems disingenuous to me that the federal and state governments and agencies have been making statements such as "This spectacled flying-fox has been subject to appreciable research, monitoring and management over the last 20 years. It is a high priority species under Queensland’s “Back on Track program." See the following link http://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/pages/0e526f41-7db6-4e21-b2a2-8aa9b2b45352/files/consultation-document-pteropus-conspicillatus.pdf. It appears, despite this, that licenses can still be obtained for lethal control. Furthermore, attempts by carers and advocates like Rebecca Koller, to raise welfare concerns about these flying foxes are met with complacency and threats. Yet, they are still being called upon to rescue, rehabilitate and release them back to the wild.”
"Fortunately there is a recovery plan for the species and it is internationally protected and recognised, as such this is where we need to focus for the best outcomes. Below is a list of the 8 recovery objectives, if we are able to find proof that these objectives are not being met. It could be possible to proceed legal action."
Recovery Objectives for the Spectacled Flying Fox
Recovery Objective 1: Research practicable and cost effective flying fox deterrent systems for commercial fruit growers.
Recovery Objective 2: Identify and protect native foraging habitat critical to the survival of the spectacled flying fox.
Recovery Objective 3: Accurately assess the short and long term population size and population trends of the spectacled flying-fox.
Recovery Objective 4: Improve the public perception of the spectacled flying-fox and the standard of information available to guide recovery.
Recovery Objective 5: Increase knowledge of P conspicillatus roosting
requirements and protect important camps.
Recovery Objective 6: Improve understanding of incidence of tick paralysis and actions to minimise paralysis mortality in flying foxes.
Recovery Objective 7: Implement strategies to reduce incidence of electrocution and entanglement of P. conspicillatus.
Recovery Objective 8 Investigate the causes of birth abnormalities such as cleft palate syndrome.
Spectacled Flying Fox threatened status nominated for upgrading from Vulnerable to Endangered
SFF have been nominated under the Commonwealth threatened species legislation for up-listing from Vulnerable to Endangered.
Qld government (Labor 2015) promised to match Commonwealth threatened species listing for SFF, so when they move up the EPBC list, they should also move up the Qld thretened species listing from Vulnerable to Endangered. The Minister (Commonwealth) is expected to announce his decision on uplisting on 18 February. nomination has been considered by the TSSC and the Minister is expected to make his decision on 18 February. It has been a long wait.
International obligations for the Spectacled flying fox under CITES
The international obligations are as follows: "The spectacled flying fox is listed under Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Populations of the spectacled flying fox are recognised as values of the Wet Tropics of Queensland World Heritage Area and therefore under the protection of World Heritage Convention". In this regard we can always contact both CITES and the World Heritage Convention to embarrass the government's into action. The same could be said of the hotel development who is currently claiming that values of Queensland Wet Tropics World heritage area is damaging their business. While making a point of this, it would be a great opportunity to advocate for the Spectacled bats ecological and economical services. The link below is the recovery plan for the species which has both the objectives and international matters.
 The spectacled flying fox was listed as a threatened species under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act of 1991. They were considered vulnerable due to a significant decline in numbers as a result of loss of their prime feeding habitat and secluded camp sites.
“Avoid culling roos for development by planning wildlife corridors,” says Craig Thomson, AWPC’s new Wildlife Planning Officer. In the face of state planning avoidance of obligation towards wildlife, Mr Thomson and AWPC want to crowdfund the purchase of private land to preserve wildlife corridors from being fenced off by farmers or built over by suburbia. The situation is increasingly dire for kangaroos and koalas particularly. Please consider helping this initiative. Contact details at end of article.
On Monday 7 December 2015, the Australian Wildlife Protection Council (AWPC) announced its appointment of Mr Craig Thomson, of Wildlife Ecosystems Retention and Restoration, as their Wildlife Planning Officer.
"It's a great privilege to work with AWPC," said Mr Thomson. "Currently with land clearing for development, councils require ‘offsets’. But offsets very rarely consider what happens to displaced wildlife, except for 'managing' it, which is a euphemism for conducting 'cull' or 'fertility' programs.
Maryland Wilson, AWPC President, said she was shocked to read of Ian Temby's recent call to cull kangaroos ahead of development as the only option for roos displaced by Melbourne's expansion. ("Call for kangaroos to be culled along Melbourne's urban fringe,”by Simon Lauder, ABC, 30 Nov 2015).
"There is another non-violent solution," she said. "It is a scandal that we have suffered through a succession of planning documents for Melbourne, without any allocating land for habitat with interconnecting continuous wildlife corridors that would enable safe passage for native animals. They have also failed to provide more than a tiny handful of animal bridges and underpasses at significant points on roads where wildlife often cross. Kangaroos, koalas, and other wildlife are increasingly road accident victims. As Melbourne expands to accommodate its human population growth program, suburban development pushes them out onto roads. This is planning negligence. "
AWPC says it has repeatedly engaged with councils in devising detailed plans for wildlife corridors. To date, however, no state government has cooperated with these plans, despite obligations to protect wildlife under the Fauna and Flora Guarantee Act.
"Instead, we have been repeatedly stone-walled. The result is the carnage Mr Temby suggests can only be avoided through culls. AWPC will be seeking a meeting with the Andrews State Government to negotiate for wildlife corridors instead of culling," said President Maryland Wilson.
Mr Thomson spoke of an imminent campaign to buy land on the Mornington Peninsula through crowd-funding. The aim is to create a private land reserve system for a wildlife corridor between national parks to sustain wildlife in the future. He says the matter is urgent as suburban development and a recent spate of farm-fencing are blocking the kangaroos' natural behaviour on the Peninsula.
Mr Thomson added, "It is ironic that some farmers are paying a lot of money for services that kangaroos would provide for free. For instance, vineyards spend much time and money keeping grass and weeds down between the vines. But, if they took down the fences and let the kangaroos in, the roos would not eat the vines, but they would keep the grass short."
CONTACT: Mr Craig Thomson, Wildlife Planning Officer, AWPC: 0474651292; Maryland Wilson, President, AWPC: 61359788570
The following letter from the Australian Wildlife Protection Council Inc. to the Victorian Ombudsman urgently signals the failure of Victorian law to protect Victorian wildlife and the lack of standing for wildlife carers against ill-based and frequent cull permits to farmers in a situation where no-one actually counts the kangaroos or actual ferals, like rabbits. The situation is truly scandalous; Victoria's almost useless laws were conceived and are administered with utter cynicism.
Level 1 North Tower
459 Collins Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
(Headings inserted by Candobetter.net editor)
Dear Ombudsman's Officers,
Carlisle River Wildlife Shelter’s Ron and Carola Anstis are heartbroken to learn animals they had spent years caring for were being shot dead thanks to approval from the State Government.
They are the only wildlife shelter in the area that cared for Eastern Grey Kangaroos, between Geelong and Warrnambool, and that’s a big area. The Anstises take in pouch young we care for them for about two years and spend more than $1000 on each.
Ron Anstis said
“We just told the department we can’t put that much into it only for them to allow someone else to kill it. This is the same department that issue us our wildlife licence.”
So the same Government Department, (Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning- DELWP), that issues wildlife licences, is the same department that issues killing permits.
Wildlife carers disempowered, given no standing at law
Ron and Carola have no ability to fight that permit whatsoever, and there is no appeals process to allow residents to dispute cull permits where required. These wildlife carers spend their own time to feed and nurture wildlife, only to have them threatened by a hostile neighbour with a permit to kill! What contradictory values are being fostered by our State government by their liberal distribution of AWTC permits. Without wildlife corridors in Victoria, we have a situation in which livestock farmers are next door to wildlife habitat areas, and there's no clear distinctions.
The government officer was satisfied that the landholder had explored available non-lethal management measures, such as maintenance and improvement to boundary fencing, prior to applying for the ATCW.
“The officer also confirmed that the kangaroos were causing damage to pasture from overgrazing….”
Wonder if they’ve assessed if it’s been “overgrazed” from overstocking of livestock and/or feral animals?
“ “Two rabbits eat the same amount as a kangaroo and a cow with a calf at foot will eat as much as 30 kangaroos; DELWP should be required to explain to the applicant the dietary differences between kangaroos and cattle so that the applicant can be properly informed about the amount of competition for pasture that actually exists,”
“ Mr Anstis said.
Contradictory Victorian law forces wildlife carers to abandon rescued animals
The couple left a rescued joey at government office in protest over a kangaroo cull permit at their neighbour’s property.
The Anstises were forced to leave eight-month-old joey, at the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning offices in Colac on Tuesday.
The Anstises had decided to stop rescuing and rehabilitating joeys and injured eastern grey kangaroos because of the contradictory action by DELWP of giving their neighbour permission to legally cull 60 roos! The neighbours want to improve their pastures, the cheap way.
Call for exclusion zones around wildlife shelters to prevent culling of wildlife
The couple, with 23 years of experience in wildlife care, is calling for state government change that would see exclusion zones around wildlife shelters to prevent the allocation of culling permits.
Victoria, the most cleared and damaged State has lost its balance, and has no place for Eastern Grey Kangaroos! Livestock, infrastructure, land clearing, roads, urbanisation and liberal distribution of ATCW Permits means these iconic kangaroos are doomed to be left to die, or if found as joeys, in the large area of Victoria that the Anstises served, to be rescued. They need our help and support!
We of the AWPC are making the following claims:
- There is NO appeals process for wildlife carers and other members of the public to challenge the application of ATCW permits
- there are no exclusion zones around wildlife carers, or wildlife corridors, and little regard to their workload and contribution to wildlife in Victoria
-”overgrazing” is assumed to be an excess of kangaroos, without assessment to overstock of livestock, or feral species
-Kangaroos are soft targets easy to shoot, instead of taking non-lethal strategies.
- There are clear conflicts of interests within our State government department DELWP, as they are responsible for protecting our native species, and at the same time are distributing ATCW permits! These conflicting duties should be separate, and independent of each other. There should be more processes involved in assessment, advice and consideration for neighbours and the community.
- DELWP admit that they do not know how many kangaroos there are, nor other more “common” native animals in Victoria, and rely on anecdotal evidence – including that from land holders and accident rates. This inhibits their ability to adequate response to killing permits.
-The liberal distribution of this ATCW permit is dividing this local community, and creating conflict of purposes and hostile neighbourhoods. If the neighbour wants to improve pastures, it should done in a consultative way, not contrary to the interests of their neighbours.
We will wait for your response, and we would like to lobby for an APPEALS PROCESS before more ATCWs are allocated.
Maryland Wilson President
Vivienne Ortega Secretary
Australian Wildlife Protection Council (AWPC)
Ross House, level 3, Flinders Lane
Date: October 3, 2015
Maryland Wilson, President of the Australian Wildlife Protection Council, announced today (June 30, 2015) that Queensland LNP Senator Barry O’Sullivan will have a singular focus when he spearheads an Australian government trade delegation to China to try to seal the deal on kangaroo meat exports. #kangaroo #exploitation. The Trans Pacific Partnership agreements, if they go through, would worsen the already terrible situation of many Australian native animals and could provoke species extinctions.
Calling to friends of wildlife, and drawing attention to the plight of kangaroos as particularly urgent, President Wilson said:
"This is a huge issue now.
We could lose our independence as a nation with global trade agreements
Kangaroos will be global 'asset', not just our native wildlife, protected as they are,
With more than 1.3 billion people in China, with an appetite for kangaroo meat, it's unsustainable. Nobody really knows how many kangaroos in Australia, and numbers have plummeted in NSW. They are hated because they cause "grazing pressure" (they eat grass!) and the government wants every blade for livestock - despite the drought over Queensland."
Donate to the AWPC to help Maryland's entirely volunteer non-profit organisation continue its great service to Australian wildlife. AWPC is a tiny organisation that punches above its weight, made up largely of hands-on activists. Download the AWPC Donation form.
See also: 1 in 10 wild bees faces extinction in Europe, study warns (25/3/15)
In late January, 2014, after wildfires tore through two conservation parks in South Australia, researchers scoured the charred terrain for signs of life. Tragically, they found nothing; only the charred silence of an empty, burnt landscape! The 60 remaining breeding pairs of Mallee emu-wren (Stipiturus mallee) in South Australia had been lost and the species was now extinct in the state.
The fires ignited in two conservation parks in South Australia’s Mallee region that were home to the only remaining South Australian populations of the endangered Mallee Emu-wren, and another fire in the Victorian mallee, 12 kilometres southwest of Ouyen, burnt the entire 13,000-hectare reserve that was one of two small populations in Victoria of the endangered Black-eared Miner. (Article republished from the Australian Wildlife Protection Website at "End of the line for the tiny Mallee Emu-Wren?"
The only remaining population in the world of Mallee Emu Wren occurs at a single area in north-western Victoria. They became extinct in South Australia last summer after wildfires burnt them out.
“The fact that we lost several significant bird populations in fires linked to a single heat wave event highlights just how vulnerable many of these species are,” says ecologist Dr Rohan Clarke from Monash University’s School of Biological Sciences.
(image: Mallee Emu-wren)
“There is nothing left of an emu-wren after a fire, not even a pile of ash,” says Professor Michael Clarke, head of Life Sciences at La Trobe University. These tiny birds are unable to flee an approaching fire, and any that survive the flames have nowhere to live after the fire has passed. He says that “the Mallee region, which is home to less than 3 per cent of the state’s at-risk population, has been repeatedly targeted for planned burns in recent years, with up to 17 per cent of the program being held in that area“. Ironically, the Mallee does not have high human populations! Government agencies will choose the least risky areas and the more convenient areas to burn, to complete their target, rather than protect human lives and property.
According to Birdlife Australia, the Victorian Government (Lib) stands accused of all but guaranteeing the extinction of threatened Mallee birds as a consequence of its bushfire prevention policy. The Mallee emu-wren, in particular, was just one fire away from being wiped from the planet. At the end of last year, 2014, there were at total of 314 in Australia – and five of them, including the Victorian Murray Mallee, are in danger of losing the species for which The Mallee was one of the most important sites for birds in the world!
In 2006, it was estimated that less than 3000 Mallee Emu-wrens remained and are mainly restricted to conservation zones. With a highly fragmented habitat, each of the five or six isolated populations is particularly vulnerable to being wiped out by fire.
After the devastation of the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires, the Victorian Bushfire Royal Commission set a yearly target to burn five per cent of public land to reduce bushfire risk across the state.
Birdlife Australia’s head of conservation, and Guy Dutson, a world authority on birds of the south-west Pacific region, says “cannot be reburnt for at least 15 to 20 years”.
The Mallee Emu-wren is about 10 to 15 cm in length and has a mass of 4 to 6.5 g. The adult male has a black bill and the adult female has a dark brown bill, but both sexes have dark-brown irides and pinkish-brown legs and feet. The Mallee Emu-wren occurs in mallee regions south of the Murray River, in south-eastern South Australia and north-western Victoria. The decline of the Mallee Emu-wren has mainly been due to the extensive loss, degradation and fragmentation of its habitat caused by broad-scale clearing and fire.
Despite the listing of the Mallee emu wren under the Flora and Fauna Act, the Victorian Coalition failed to develop an action plan for its protection despite a massive expansion of native forest burning under the banner of “hazard reduction” burning! In fact most of the Mallee burning in remote areas contributes little to improving the safety of lives and property, but is about fulfilling government targets!
BirdLife Australia welcomed the announcement in February this year that the Federal Government will fund a program to protect the birds. The announcement builds on the outcomes of an Emergency Summit which BirdLife Australia hosted last year. The program will create an insurance population could be a lifesaver. Mallee Emu-wren and Black-eared Miner (VIC) got $110,000! However, a captive “insurance” population can’t replace species living where they naturally live, to further be extinguished on release by fires! It’s a band-aid, politically-motivated token, rather that the holistic approach of actually protecting the birds in their natural habitats!
Australian wildlife, along with insects, and fungi,once played a key role in ensuring ‘cool’ burns rather than the all-devastating wildfires. The loss of leaf eating moths, dung beetles and a variety of leaf and coarse woody debris recycling insects is contributing to a potentially high frequency fire cycle. The torching of wildlife, assumed to be collateral damage to keep “us” safe, is barbaric, anthropocentric, and will fuel more fires by working against Nature, rather than with it.
Habitat clearance and degradation has been the major threat to Black-eared Miners. Old growth mallee is the preferred habitat of Black-eared Miners, and they prefer habitat that has not been burnt for 40 years or more.
The juvenile male dingo was destroyed by Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service staff this week after it allegedly stalked tourists near Eli Creek on the Island and nipped an 11 year old child.
Spokespersons for the Australian Wildlife Protection Council Inc. (AWPC) and the National Dingo Preservation and Recovery Program Inc. (NDPRP), Ms Jennifer Parkhurst and Dr Ernest Healy, respectively, stressed that:
‘Such allegations of aggression by dingoes on Fraser Island are frequently subjective, often being misinterpretations of innocent dingo behaviour, and have characterised the mismanagement of dingoes on the Island for a long time. The Queensland authorities have a long track record of manufacturing perceptions of dingo ‘aggression’ on Fraser Island, at times even encouraging a fear mentality against dingoes amongst tourists’.
Ms Parkhurst, a wildlife photographer who studied dingoes on the Island at close hand for many years, stated that, this most recent destruction of a juvenile dingo on Fraser Island, after contact with tourists, highlights an even deeper mismanagement issue.
‘The underlying problem with the Queensland government’s approach to managing the Island, which is World Heritage listed, is the sheer volume of tourists that it allows onto Fraser Island, currently running at well over 400,000 per year. The dingoes are literally over run by tourists, including beach areas which are traditionally places where dingoes forage for food. Efforts by the authorities to virtually confine dingoes to the central areas of the Island, where they can be ‘wild’, without contact with people, are ill-conceived and unachievable. While this prioritisation of commercial values over biodiversity values continues, more dingoes will die and their ability to survive on Fraser Island in the medium to longer-term will be in doubt.’
Ms Parkhurst said hopes that the Newman government would mean a fresh approach to dingo management on Fraser Island have now proven unfounded.
‘Despite a review of the Fraser Island dingo management policy on coming to government in 2012, the current Queensland government has fallen into the same old mismanagement practices. Part of the problem is that there has not been a sufficient turnover of Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service staff to ensure departmental cultural renewal in relation to dingo management on the Island.’
Dr Healy emphasised that the ongoing culling of Fraser Island dingoes is being permitted by the Queensland authorities without sufficient base-line dingo population data to know whether the authorised killing of dingoes is undermining the viability of the Island’s population:
‘Convincing answers are yet to be provided by the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service as to the total dingo population of Fraser Island, the population age structure, including the number of breeding pairs, and the genetic health of the dingo population. This is essential knowledge for any responsible dingo management policy. It has been lacking.
At present the authorities simply keep citing a figure of between 100 and 200 animals, a figure that has been blindly thrown around by the authorities for years without adequate research to substantiate it. The fact that the Queensland authorities have only recently put forward a detailed research agenda to address these dingo population questions bears out the inadequacy and potential risk of dingo management practices up to this point.’
The AWPC and the NDPRP are concerned that the majority of animals killed on Fraser Island have been juveniles. Without accurate population data on the Island’s breeding population, the impact of culling juveniles upon the overall dingo population’s survival prospects is not known. Destruction of juveniles impacts negatively upon future generations because they perform an important role as parental helpers in raising subsequent litters and they disperse to form new packs.
January 8, 2015
Prescribed burns in Victoria, leave many hundreds of thousands of dead wildlife- have just watched this video and am shocked – had no idea how bad the results of prescribed burns are- video exposes unsustainable toll on native animals with planned & implemented burns in Victoria, causing immense suffering and death ~Maryland Wilson
Government sanctioned prescribed burns is the biggest wildlife issue in Victoria.
One of the most critical issue is the restriction placed on wildlife rescuers and carers by DEPI which prevents them from attending fires & get in and do rescues before DEPI ‘clean up’ dead and kill injured wildlife.
Approximately 4 years ago DES compiled protocols for the rescue of animals from fire areas. Many rescuers and carers were trained in the protocols and bought their personal protection gear; some were given further training as Team Leaders which was sponsored by Wildlife Victoria, gaining a TAFE qualification. To date none of these rescuers and carers has been allowed onto any fire ground in time to save animals, they were kept waiting for days and weeks until the fire ground was ‘safe’ meaning cold.
The DEPI clean up is difficult to prove but there are stories of shooters being employed in Wilson’s Promontory National Park to shoot injured and dying animals but they are said to have run out of ammunition. Photos were only possible when people could get into fires before the ‘bag men’ arrived & buried the dead wildlife which they likely did at Walkerville this year. Out of sight out of mind
Public reaction to Sam Koala that the firemen gave ‘a drink’, in lead up to Black Saturday Fires was massive. However the original ‘Sam’ was injured during a fuel reduction burn and eventually died!
Scientists found that fire dramatically changes the abundance of resources critical to animals in semi-arid ecosystems, such as spinifex hummocks and tree hollows. This doesn’t just occur in the immediate aftermath of a fire; the impacts continue for a century after burning.
There needs to be an alternative approach that identifies areas to burn on the basis of where the greatest reduction in risk to life and property can be achieved, while also minimising the risk to biodiversity.
With an election coming up it may be opportune for the incoming Government to pause and reflect on the situation with DEPI, the huge loss of wildlife and wildlife rescuers being allowed onto fire grounds.
The Australian Wildlife Protection Council Inc is totally opposed to any deliberate burning and burning vast areas of vegetation much of which is remote from human habitation for perhaps, for no other reason than to fulfil the annual 5% requirement of prescribed burns as set by the Royal Commission for the sole reason of reaching the state-wide target. It's like shooting a dog to kill the fleas!
Groups based in Western Victoria, have produced a You Tube video titled ‘Victoria-what are we really burning?". It is an excellent, hard- hitting expose of the government’s fuel reduction burning program and its effects on native wildlife species. It encourages us all to write to Environment Ministers Victoria (and West Australia) urging them to review the burning program. We hope the video goes viral and minister gets swamped with angry responses from people everywhere. We hope it will lead to a change in government’s burning policy. DEMAND CHANGE.
Following the disastrous Black Saturday wildfires, the Victorian Government has established a policy to burn 5% of all public land each year despite any fires which have occurred by lightning or other means. Sadly, most of the burning occurs in national parks and wilderness areas (where no one lives), simply to reach their ‘target’ of burning nearly 400,000 hectares annually.
If successful in achieving their ‘target’ it would mean there’s no bush on public land in Victoria (including national parks) older than 20 years. As most people are aware, there are a great many species of native plants and animals that require old-growth habitats- such as the critically endangered Malleefowl and the Mallee Emu Wren.
This mindless burning program is carried out with little (if any) scientific research or long-term monitoring. “I can assure you that prescribed burns go far beyond barbarity- and need to be highlighted as such by us-if not us who else? Hope this helps. I want to see that full page spread on FACEBOOK” ~ Peta Rakela West Australia.
Peta says further “I do not think AWPC should drop the issue under any circumstance whatsoever. I have given thought to the matter and believe it is our responsibility to ensure that the public know the truth. Do not be silenced by others. A friend of mine uses the word perception a lot. She says that when you use it you are not putting yourself in the firing line re the threat of being sued. When I tell you the Victorian and West Australian Governments act barbarically, and criminally, that is exactly what I am telling you. You can state that there is a perception that the acts are criminal etc…There is a general perception… I am with you 100%- enough of the namby pamby talk- call it as you see it…it hasn’t worked for the last 200 plus years They are not only burning the ‘s- – -‘ out of everything but chopping every tree in sight down- this is lunacy- and incitement of mass hysteria and is totally irresponsible and reprehensible government policy. I’d also encourage a call for photos and evidence from general public to get it out there, date time place”
(image below on YouTube: Clive Crouch OAM Pic: dead koala/ring-tail possum)
My email to Hon, Lisa Neville: Shadow Minister for Environment and Climate Change
The Hon. Lisa Neville, MP
Dear Lisa Neville,
The members of the Australian Wildlife Protection Council are concerned about the horrendous amount of burning in Victoria, of 5% each year, to reduce fuel.
For three years the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission’s independent monitor Neil Comrie has strongly advised the Victorian Government to abandon one of the commission’s recommendations: the call to burn 390,000ha of public land annually for fuel reduction.
Yet Environment Minister Ryan Smith is sticking to that target and, even more puzzling, DEPI plans to increase that annual target to an extraordinary 450,000ha. There is more than an environmental, but political reason for all this burning in our State! The evidence is increasing that this overly simplistic target is not the best way to increase public safety, and it is likely to lead to long-term damage to our finest natural areas.
Five leading fire behaviour scientists in Australia, Canada and the US have demonstrated that managing the ignition point of a fire through increased capacity for rapid attack, and by closing public access to remote areas during high fire danger days, was more effective in reducing the extent of fire than fuel management.
This is an over-reaction to Black Saturday, and is broad-scale burning all over our State, even in remote areas. The VNPA has always argued against the 5% target, saying it is an unnecessarily simplistic solution to a complex problem. Even the Royal Commission's own Expert Advisory panel said it wouldn't work. Many burns are now being undertaken in areas where they are impacting greatly on native species, such as the remarkable Mallee Fowl, a species that requires increasingly rare long-unburnt habitat. How many native birds, animals and their habitats must be destroyed when there's no guarantee that this carnage will avoid another Black Saturday?
Many studies show that we now have very little long-unburnt bush left in Victoria, even in remote areas such as the Mallee, and that the impacts on native wildlife are serious and growing. Already our native animals are struggling against multiple human impacts, and climate change, yet these burns will destroy more of their habitats, and cause carnage that can't be justified.
A more conclusive and targeted response would be to build fire-resistant homes, be fire-ready, and reduce fuel in targeted areas close to human habitation and livestock areas, not just in an ad hoc manner across the whole of our State.
The future statewide target of 390,000 ha is setting us on a level of management burning unprecedented in Victoria's history. This 'rolling target' (if it is not reached in any one year, the deficit is to be added to the next year's target) is to be achieved regardless of the extent of bushfire in any season.
Australia has the highest rate of mammal extinctions in modern times, and there's no room for complacency with regards the the protection and survival of our biodiversity.
We would appreciate your Party's policy and position on this issue, before the next State elections.
Secretary, Australian Wildlife Protection Council
Suite 18, 288 Brunswick St
Fitzroy 3065 Victoria
Human exposure to 1080 is very severely restricted by law, for obvious reasons. The same does not apply to other species in baited areas. The major animal welfare concern over the use of 1080 relates to its extreme cruelty and its lack of an antidote. The major environmental concern relates to its effects on non target animals, either through ingestion of baits or by secondary poisoning.
Article by Sheila Newman with Maryland Wilson, President, Australian Wildlife Protection Council (AWPC)
1080, sodium fluoracetate, is all bad news
1080, sodium fluoracetate- for which there is no antidote, is cheap and easy to use, but a cruel solution.
(Photo of Eastern Grey joey, "Acacia," by Brett Clifton.The late Dr Peter Rawlinson La Trobe University zoologist stated in 1987 (as an Australian Conservation Foundation Councillor):
“The wallaby does not know the carrots will poison and kill her...they are laced with 1080; she will die and her joey will starve! There is no antidote to the progressively slow and agonising death...as her functions fail...” Photo: Brett Clifton “When ingested, wallabies, possums, wedge-tailed eagles that feed on smaller prey are progressively debilitated and die a slow, agonizing death as its systems fail. Death may ultimately result from a variety of causes ranging from heart failure to suffocation. There is no antidote to 1080 poisoning”.
For these reasons, human exposure to 1080 is very severely restricted by law. The same does not apply to other species in baited areas. The major animal welfare concern over the use of 1080 relates to its extreme cruelty and its lack of an antidote. The major environmental concern relates to its effects on non target animals, either through ingestion of baits or by secondary poisoning... the toxic chemical that slowly kills.
Secondary poisoning occurs when animals, such as birds of prey, eat poisoned mammals. Falcons and eagles are a case in point. Many of these animals are increasingly rare:
"Australia and its territories host 35 species of birds of prey: 24 diurnal raptors and 11 owls, many of which are endemic. Nine species and as many subspecies are listed as threatened nationally and/or regionally....
As predators at the top of food chains they are vulnerable to secondary poisoning and the accumulation of persistent pesticides, and subject to persecution." Source: http://www.birdlife.org.au/documents/OTHPUB-Raptors.pdf
Pets and domestic animals victims of 1080
Dogs and even horses are at serious risk. Here is a case in New Zealand:
"The land treated could easily have been treated for possum control by safer alternative methods, ie. trapping and ferratox in bait stations, as it is NOT REMOTE, NOT INNACCESSIBLE, and NOT RUGGED TERRAIN.
It is obvious from the position of the animal, the damage to its leg, the vomited lungs and the distended veins, that this animal died a horrible and cruel death. Deer have been observed to have tried to rip open their own bellies in their agony, and have inflicted similar and worse damage to their bodies while under the effects of 1080. Dogs are driven insane by the excruciating pain inflicted upon them before succombing to a cruel death. Poisoned possums can travel several kms and may take up to 18 hours to die." Source: http://emigratetonewzealand.wordpress.com/2008/09/05/1080-3/
Dingos are a better idea than 1080
The alternative idea of supporting the return of terrestrial predators adapted to Australian conditions has recently been the subject of serious discussion, most recently and fascinatingly in this article by scientists, Corey Bradshaw and Euan Ritchie: "Can Australia afford the dingo fence?" The authors write:
"...Why do we invest billions of dollars in feral animal control and the subsequent recovery plans for endangered wildlife using the same techniques for decades, when a more proactive and natural alternative exists? It’s a solution mired in controversy because it involves yet another “introduced” predator – the dingo.
...And poisoning is not the answer either. In addition to killing non-target native species, baiting dingoes might in fact result in increased dingo densities due to social breakdown of the pack, resulting in increasing attacks on stock, not to mention a higher likelihood of hybridisation with feral dogs. Baiting also leads to more juvenile dingoes."
Article by Sheila Newman with Maryland Wilson, President, Australian Wildlife Protection Council (AWPC)
Mr Cole, 39, was among about 50 people gathered at Ipswich's One Mile Bridge who saw the distressed young animal out of its depth in the fast-flowing torrent.
" I couldn't watch a joey die .. I couldn't just stand by and watch Australia's national animal drown. I could see it little head bobbing up and down and I knew it didn't stand a chance".
Ray Cole, a father of five, was cheered by onlookers but threatened with arrest by police when he waded into turgid waters to pluck the drowning joey to safety.
Australia Day honours
Mr Ray Cole received honours from the Australian Wildlife Protection Council in Federation Square on Australia Day. He was flown down to Melbourne from Ipswich, Queensland, compliments of Virgin airlines, presented with a certificate and a reward, and given a lifelong membership to the organisation.
Kangaroos are our nation's symbolic animals, endemic to Australia and recognised world wide.
The damage done to property, and the tragic loss of human life, has overshadowed the heroes who are scanning the wreckage for injured animals.
Like the rescue of Sam the koala during Victoria's Black Saturday inferno, an Australia Day accolade for someone who rescued a drowning baby kangaroo is a symbol of acknowledgment for all the wildlife and animal rescuers who put their own lives on hold, and at times at risk, to save lives as a result of disaster is surely appropriate.
Photo- permission of Maryland Wilson, President of AWPC. She is handing the certificate to Ray.