Dear friends of Earth,
Australians everywhere are devastated at the terrible bush fires in Victoria and flooding in Qld. An estimated one million native animals have been incinerated in the infernos, although the true total could be many times more. The surviving animals will be left to starve or die from injuries, heat stroke or dehydration. We have seen the photos of desperate koalas stopping cyclists on the road for a drink from their water bottles, clambering over fences and drinking from people's swimming pools, dog bowls and watering cans. Koalas nation-wide will now number considerably less than 100,000 thanks to these fires and floods.
With the worst record in the world of wildlife extinctions, having driven 40% of our native animals extinct in a mere 220 years, isn't it time, once and for all, that the Australian government stopped allowing the killing of our so called 'protected' native animals, most of whom are suffering from the following major threats:
2. climate change
3. habitat destruction from developers and livestock farmers
6. farmer kills
7. illegal kills
9. illegal wildlife trade
10. diseases caused by man
11. polluted air, soil and water
12. the 'bush tucker' trade
13. sports hunters
14. government 'culls'
We call on the government of Australia to protect our native animals in the following ways:-
a) Impose an immediate moratorium on the killing of ALL native animal species (except where it's in the best interest of an animal such as in the case of wounding/disease).
b) Immediately revoke all licences for nuisance killing or sports killing.
c) Increase the penalty for deliberately killing a native animal and to include jail time.
d) Mandate that motor vehicles be installed with 'Shu-Roo' type sonic devices to alert wildlife of the approach of vehicles on country roads.
e) For all development proposals to include appropriate wildlife corridors for the species who live there.
f) To increase expenditure for wildlife corridors to be created where native roadkill consistently occurs.
g) Offer substantial subsidies for livestock farmers to transition from cattle and sheep farming operations to grain and vegetable operations, which do not require constant deforestation to create more grazing lands. Much of the dryness of our country, and therefore propensity to bush fires, is due to livestock farming since cattle and sheep pull out the roots of grasses then compact the soil and cause soil erosion, deserts, droughts and climate change. It's time to move away from this destructive industry and help people transition to a plant-based diet for the sake of our nation.
h) Close down the 'bush tucker' trade completely, especially the kangaroo meat and leather industry. Kangaroo populations have plummeted up to 70% nationwide due to drought and excess killing by the commercial kangaroo industry. The average age of commercially killed kangaroos is only 2-3 years, barely reproductive age. More than 50% of kangaroos killed are females - a recipe for extinction and certainly not 'sustainable.' (see www.stopkangarookilling.org )
i) Create an information sheet highlighting the many ways that kangaroos help prevent bushfires such as by eating the dry grasses that ignite easily in bush fires and by regenerating native grasses by eating the seeds and then migrating to other areas before depositing them into the soil via their stool. Kangaroos are beneficial to our ecosystem in many ways. They do not compact the soil and they help plant many seeds by creating indentations in the soil for seeds to fall into. They also need very little water to drink.
j) Use the media to dispel the widely-held myths that kangaroos are in 'plague proportions' and 'pests.' Since there are more than 5 times as many sheep as there are kangaroos and more cows than kangaroos and about the same number of people, it is hardly fair to call refer to kangaroos as in 'plagues' or 'abundant' and to use that to justify killing them. Also there is no scientific study proving that kangaroos compete with sheep or wheat fields.
k) Develop new methods for people to live in harmony with wildlife so there is no need for governments to 'cull' them. Perhaps where absolutely necessary initiate contraceptive measures or skilfully relocate them.
l) Above all, cease referring to native animals as 'resources to be sustainably harvested.' There is no more sustainability in killing our wildlife, especially our iconic animals.
m) Immediately disband the FATE program established by UNSW which pays farmers to allow shooters to come onto their property and kill native animals for a profit.
n) Tourists come from all over the world to see our amazing native animals and are disappointed to only find them in zoos. Since our tourism industry is suffering financially, creating eco-tourism (possibly employing former shooters and/or local farmers to become tourist guides) would do a lot to stimulate our economy and also go far in re-establishing our current abysmal international reputation for eating our national emblems and for the fact that we conduct the largest slaughter of wildlife on the planet.
We are running out of time. Without biodiversity, we will all perish!
May Australia not be the first country in the world to have all its native animals extinct during this period of the 6th Mass Extinction of all species.