If you have ever been to the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DWELP) and asked questions, you would be well-aware that the native-animal department has almost no staff, that DWELP does not use the law to protect native animals, but prevents others from using it, due to legal lack of standing. At the same time, the Agriculture arm of DWELP enthusiastically issues permits to kill kangaroos and other native animals with almost no restriction or inspection, and quasi-imaginary
Australian Koala Foundation (AKF) is making a final plea to voters to realise that their political leaders and an incoming Government needs to support the Koala Protection Act, before it’s too late, as the Government’s recently released Koala Recovery Plan does not go far enough!
This short documentary shows the problems that birds face in the US, but they face the same problems in Australia. The current push by powerful property developers, niched in our government, will remove more habitat for the birds where most of us live. Birds Australia's report, The State of Australia's Birds 2015, showed shorebirds in steep decline, and that our familiar friends, magpies, kookaburras, and willy-wagtails, are now struggling.
It has been great to re-live the Apollo 11 Moon Landing’s 50 th Anniversary. What a monumental achievement and tribute to human intellectual candlepower, endeavour and above all courage. I was a Year 9 student at the time; like other classes we downed tools to watch it unfold. Our teachers were just as astonished by the audacity and precision of the Landing as we were. I – and I think most of the people who I talked with or heard from at that time – had a very rosy view of the future. Yes we were involved in a stupid war in Vietnam, but I thought the Second World War and the Holocaust were so wicked and so evil that we’d learned from that, and that there was a very strong worldwide appetite for peace. I thought that war and conflict would become a thing of the past.
I also thought that we were learning from our environmental mistakes, and that the public interest and community action groups springing up to oppose air pollution, water pollution, toxic pesticides and habitat destruction would see us lift our environmental game. In short, I thought everything would improve.
But to reflect on the Apollo 11 Moon Landing raises the question for me – what has actually happened to the world in the last 50 years?
The most striking global phenomenon of the past 50 years has been population growth. It took us the whole of human history to get to the 3.6 billion people we were in 1969. It has taken just 50 years to more than double that, to 7.7 billion now. Australia is no exception – back in 1969 we were 12 million; now we are 25 million.
The impact of this growth on wildlife and the environment has been catastrophic. The latest World Wildlife Fund Living Planet Report says that since 1970, 60% of the population of all mammals, birds, reptiles and fish has been lost.
60% in 50 years. It is a disgrace. It makes an absolute nonsense of the idea that we’re decoupling growth from environmental damage; that we can continue to grow, and our wildlife won’t disappear. Let me repeat – in the last years our numbers went up by over 50%, and the world’s wildlife went down by 60%.
Co-incidence? Hardly. As has been noted by The Overpopulation Report, the total weight of vertebrate land animals 10,000 years ago was – Humans 1%, Wild Animals 99%. Today it is Wild Animals 1%, Humans 32%, Livestock 67%.
And the population doubling in 50 years has not just been catastrophic for our wildlife and environment; there have been many other consequences too. Back then Australia had negligible unemployment. Now we’ve got unemployment, we’ve got underemployment, we’ve got job insecurity, we’ve got no wage growth.
Back then we had virtually no homelessness and much lower levels of mental health problems and drug addiction. Now we have homelessness and beggars in the streets, our young people have mental health problems. Ice used to be something you needed to keep the beer cold. Not any more. We have housing unaffordability. In 1969 Australians not only owned their own homes, many Australians had a holiday home down by the beach as well. Not any more. In 1969 there was no such thing as traffic congestion. Now the traffic congestion is terrible. We have road rage (unheard of in
1969) and Melbourne is on track to add over one million extra cars in the next 20 years. How will we go with another million cars?
In 1969 we did indeed take a giant leap forward. But it’s the increasing size of the foot, and our footprint on the earth, that the past 50 years will be most remembered for in time to come. The next giant leap for mankind will be the one that moves us from using “growth” as our measuring stick, to using “wellbeing”, and which enables us to put into effect the lesson of those beautiful photos of the earth taken by the astronauts – that we’re all in this together.
The Hon. Kelvin Thomson
22 July 2019
An https://science.sciencemag.org/content/364/6443/881international study has revealed extensive removal of legal protection for conservation reserves, at a time when the preservation of these areas is more important than ever to biodiversity. The study, published today in Science, involving a global consortium of researchers led by Conservation International, documents how governments from 73 countries, including Australia, have removed more than 500,000 km2 from protected areas and downgraded protection for an additional 1.65 million km2 to allow greater human impacts.
The research examined losses occurring over a 125 year period. Alarmingly, more than three quarters of these losses occurred since 2000.
Dr Carly Cook, an ARC DECRA Fellow at Monash University’s School of Biological Sciences, led the assessment of changes to Australian protected areas.
She identified more than 1,500 changes, resulting in the removal of 13,000 km2 from conservation areas and undermining protection for an additional 400,000 km2.
“The losses we see in Australia reflect a shift towards the commercialisation and exploitation of conservation areas for human uses,” Dr Cook said.
“We’ve seen governments across the country open up protected areas to commercial developments, such as hotels and marinas, and introduce a string of changes to permit forestry, livestock grazing, hunting and fishing.”
“People think protected areas offer permanent protection for biodiversity, but this isn’t the case.
“The future for protected areas is increasingly uncertain at a time when natural systems face greater threats than ever.”
With an estimated 1 million species now at risk of extinction, what is the future for protected areas? The study shows that no conservation areas are immune to losses, with protection removed from important biodiversity hotspots, such as the Amazon Basin, and iconic areas, such as Yosemite National Park in the US.
Removing protected areas, or allowing activities that are not compatible with biodiversity conservation, will negatively impact the species these areas were designed to protect. Losing protection increases habitat loss and means natural areas become smaller and more fragmented.
The authors are calling for greater transparency to fully understand the scale of the problem and the impacts on biodiversity.
“A single change in legislation can have an alarming impacts,” said Dr Cook.
“For example, a legislative amendment to allow commercial development in NSW impacted 600 national parks and nature reserves.”
The study authors call for international conventions to establish systems to monitor and report on the loss of conservation areas that match current systems for tracking their establishment.
In the absence of systematic monitoring and reporting, studies such as this are critical for increasing awareness of the ways in which protected areas are being undermined.
A copy of the paper can be found here. https://science.sciencemag.org/content/364/6443/881
We cannot let an internationally famous Australian icon become extinct in its natural habitat. South East Queensland has entered the final phase of the extinction of its biodiversity, with mega-developments gone mad and the loss of Koalas mounting as Koalageddon increases exponentially. Eastern Australia was a recognised international hotspot for biodiversity and unfortunately is now part of an internationally recognised de-forestation hotspot ! The only one in the "developed" world. How could this happen in Australia??? This is simply not acceptable to many people.
Please help me to help Koalas and either donate if you can or/and share this post to support my Koala GoFundMe at https://www.gofundme.com/Koalas-in-Crisis-Ambulance-Fuel Many thanks, Ted Fensom.
A plan to build a massive hydropower dam in Sumatra as part of China’s immense Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) threatens the habitat of the rarest ape in the world, which has only 800 remaining members. It is time for a clarion call for greater caution. While led by China, the BRI will also involve large financial commitments from more than 60 nations that are parties to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, including Australia and many other Western nations. (Article republished from https://theconversation.com/china-backed-sumatran-dam-threatens-the-rarest-ape-in-the-world-95874 at The Conversation.)
The plan to build a massive hydropower dam in Sumatra as part of China’s immense Belt and Road Initiative threatens the habitat of the rarest ape in the world, which has only 800 remaining members.
This is merely the beginning of an avalanche of environmental crises and broader social and economic risks that will be provoked by the BRI scheme.
The orangutan’s story began in November 2017, when scientists made a stunning announcement: they had discovered a seventh species of Great Ape, called the Tapanuli Orangutan, in a remote corner of Sumatra, Indonesia.
In an article published in Current Biology today, my colleagues and I show that this ape is perilously close to extinction – and that a Chinese-sponsored megaproject could be the final nail in its coffin.
Ambitious but ‘nightmarishly complicated’
The BRI is an ambitious but nightmarishly complicated venture, and far less organised than many believe. The hundreds of road, port, rail, and energy projects will ultimately span some 70 nations across Asia, Africa, Europe and the Pacific region. It will link those nations economically and often geopolitically to China, while catalysing sweeping expansion of land-use and extractive industries, and will have myriad knock-on effects.
Up to 2015, the hundreds of BRI projects were reviewed by the powerful National Development and Reform Commission, which is directly under China’s State Council. Many observers have assumed that the NDRC will help coordinate the projects, but the only real leverage they have is over projects funded by the big Chinese policy banks – the China Development Bank and the Export-Import Bank of China – which they directly control.
Most big projects – many of which are cross-national – will have a mix of funding from various sources and nations, meaning that no single entity will be in charge or ultimately responsible. An informed colleague in China describes this model as “anarchy”.
The dangerous potential of the BRI becomes apparent when one examines the Tapanuli Orangutan. With fewer than 800 individuals, it is one of the rarest animals on Earth. It survives in just a speck of rainforest, less than a tenth the size of Sydney, that is being eroded by illegal deforestation, logging, and poaching.
All of these threats propagate around roads. When a new road appears, the ape usually disappears, along with many other rare species sharing its habitat, such as Hornbills and the endangered Sumatran Tiger.
The most imminent threat to the ape is a US$1.6 billion hydropower project that Sinohydro (China’s state-owned hydroelectric corporation) intends to build with funding from the Bank of China and other Chinese financiers. If the project proceeds as planned, it will flood the heart of the ape’s habitat and crisscross the remainder with many new roads and powerline clearings.
It’s a recipe for ecological Armageddon for one of our closest living relatives. Other major lenders such as the World Bank and Asian Development Bank aren’t touching the project, but that isn’t slowing down China’s developers.
What environmental safeguards?
China has produced a small flood of documents describing sustainable lending principles for its banks and broad environmental and social safeguards for the BRI, but I believe many of these documents are mere paper tigers or “greenwashing” designed to quell anxieties.
According to insiders, a heated debate in Beijing right now revolves around eco-safeguards for the BRI. Big corporations (with international ambitions and assets that overseas courts can confiscate) want clear guidelines to minimise their liability. Smaller companies, of which there are many, want the weakest standards possible.
The argument isn’t settled yet, but it’s clear that the Chinese government doesn’t want to exclude its thousands of smaller companies from the potential BRI riches. Most likely, it will do what it has in the past: issue lofty guidelines that a few Chinese companies will attempt to abide by, but that most will ignore.
There are three alarming realities about China, of special relevance to the BRI.
First, China’s explosive economic growth has arisen from giving its overseas corporations and financiers enormous freedom. Opportunism, graft and corruption are embedded, and they are unlikely to yield economically, socially or environmentally equitable development for their host nations. I detailed many of these specifics in an article published by Yale University last year.
Second, China is experiencing a perfect storm of trends that ensures the harsher realities of the BRI are not publicly aired or even understood in China. China has a notoriously closed domestic media – #wvflezrfe5mdMDjr.97">ranked near the bottom in press freedom globally – that is intolerant of government criticism.
Beyond this, the BRI is the signature enterprise of President Xi Jinping, who has become the de-facto ruler of China for life. Thanks to President Xi, the BRI is now formally enshrined in the constitution of China’s Communist Party, making it a crime for any Chinese national to criticise the program. This has had an obvious chilling effect on public discourse. Indeed, I have had Chinese colleagues withdraw as coauthors of scientific papers that were even mildly critical of the BRI.
Third, China is becoming increasingly heavy-handed internationally, willing to overtly bully or covertly pull strings to achieve its objectives. Professor Clive Hamilton of Charles Sturt University has warned that Australia has become a target for Chinese attempts to stifle criticism.
Remember the ape
It is time for a clarion call for greater caution. While led by China, the BRI will also involve large financial commitments from more than 60 nations that are parties to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, including Australia and many other Western nations.
We all have a giant stake in the Belt and Road Initiative. It will bring sizeable economic gains for some, but in nearly 40 years of working internationally, I have never seen a program that raises more red flags.
Greensbush Association is screening the new international film about Kangaroos in Australia at 5.30pm May 25th at Main Ridge Community Hall, Main Creek Road, Main Ridge, (Mornington Peninsular) Victoria. This film has been screened and reviewed widely around the world to stunned reviews and I have not found any negative ones. It is not so well known in Australia, of course, because it challenges what governments and corporate press have to say about kangaroos. The Association screening this film is named after Greensbush Mornington Peninsular National Park, which is one of few places where kangaroos might now dwell in comparative safety, were it not for people on neighboring properties who treat them like pests and the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning which encourages this redneck approach to wildlife. Victorians will be concerned to hear that this film tells how the West Australian Commercial Kangaroo Meat industry is running out of kangaroos and planning to open up in Victoria. Of course the grubby Victorian Government is looking for any excuse to get rid of our wildlife. Turn up to this film-screening and maybe you can network with fellow wildlife warriors. The kangaroos need all the help they can get. If you doubt this, check the film out. Donations to cover the cost of the film and venue hire. All welcome! Map to venue at end of article. You can hire this film, host a screening, from kangaroothemovie.com.
"Essentially, the film examines how the roo industry - both for meat and skin - has stealthily and very profitably capitalised on two words - “pest” and “plague” - to run itself in a chaotic, slipshod, unhygienic, inhumane and seriously under-regulated fashion. We are introduced to whistle-blowers, activists and politicians who are advocating not so much for revolution as transparency, while farmers and industry reps are also given their say.
The film does have a point of view, though, and a strong one, and will doubtless cause some consternation among those who don’t want their ways challenged. The thing that shines through, however, is the integrity of the McIntyres: they didn’t set out to challenge an industry, they simply learned about it, and what they learned, we all, as Australians who love Skippy, need to know." ("Nightlife," http://www.abc.net.au/radio/programs/nightlife/cj/9546930)
"To avoid a nonstop focus on bloodshed, “Kangaroo” occasionally offers up images of the outback and drone footage of wild animals in their habitats. Those can be breathtaking. Yet the filmmakers, to their credit, don’t flinch from stomach-turning sights. This film isn’t always pretty, but its message is necessary." (New York Times https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/18/movies/kangaroo-a-love-hate-story-review.html)
Researchers from Museums Victoria and the University of Melbourne have CT scanned all 13 known Tasmanian tiger joey specimens to create 3D digital models which have allowed them to study their skeletons and internal organs, and reconstruct their growth and development. This has revealed important new information about how this unique extinct marsupial evolved to look so similar to the dingo, despite being very distantly related.
The digital scans show that when first born the Tasmanian tiger or thylacine (Thylacinus cynocephalus) looked like any other marsupial.
But three months later, when they left the pouch they had taken on the appearance of a puppy and continued to grow with a dog-like appearance.
The research, led by the University of Melbourne and Museums Victoria and in conjunction with an international team of scientists, is published today [Wednesday 21 February, 11:30AM AEST] in Royal Society Open Science.
It comes from the same team who successfully sequenced the thylacine genome in December 2017.
The Tasmanian tiger was a marsupial, which raised its young in a pouch.
Its resemblance to the dingo is one of the best examples of “convergent evolution” in mammals. This is where, two species, despite not being closely related, evolve to look very similar.
The Tasmanian tiger would have last shared a common ancestor with the canids (dogs and wolves) around 160 million years ago.
Dr Christy Hipsley, Research Associate at Museums Victoria and the University of Melbourne said after sequencing the Tasmanian tiger genome in 2017, this research fills one more piece of the puzzle on why they have evolved to look so similar to dogs.
“This is the first digital development series of the Tasmanian tiger, Australia’s most iconic extinct marsupial predator. Using CT technology we have been able to garner new information on the biology of this iconic species, and its growth and development.”
“These scans show in incredible detail how the Tasmanian tiger started its journey in life as a joey that looked very much like any other marsupial, with robust forearms so that it could climb into its mother's pouch. But by the time it left the pouch around 12 weeks to start independent life, it looked more like a dog or wolf, with longer hind limbs than forelimbs.”
Once ranging throughout Australia and New Guinea, the Tasmanian tiger disappeared from the mainland around 3,000 years ago, likely due to competition with humans and dingos.
The remaining Tasmanian tiger population, isolated on Tasmania, was hunted to extinction in the early 20th century, with the last known individual dying at Hobart Zoo in 1936.
Axel Newton, PhD student and Lead Author on the paper notes, “Until now, there have only been limited details on its growth and development. For the very first time, we have been able to look inside these remarkably rare and precious specimens.”
Unable to study the living species, the team had to look to the 13 Tasmanian tiger joey specimens that exist in museum collections worldwide, including three from the collection of Museums Victoria.
These joey specimens, representing five stages of postnatal development, were scanned using non-invasive X-ray micro-CT scanning technology to create high-resolution 3D digital models, in which all their internal structures such as skeleton and organs could be studied.
Associate Professor Andrew Pask from the University of Melbourne and Museums Victoria explains this was an incredibly effective technique to study the skeletal anatomy of the specimens without causing any damage to them.
“This research clearly demonstrates the power of CT technology. It has allowed us to scan all the known Thylacine joey specimens in the world, and study their internal structures in high resolution without having to dissect or cause damage to the specimen.”
“By examining their bone development, we’ve been able to illustrate how the Tasmanian tiger matured and identify when they took on the appearance of a dog.”
The study has also revealed the incorrect classification of two specimens held in the collection of the Tasmanian Museums and Art Gallery (TMAG). Instead, they are most likely to be quolls or Tasmanian devils, based on the number of vertebrate and presence of large epipubic bones (specialised bones that support the pouch in modern marsupials).
Senior Curator of Vertebrate Zoology at TMAG, Ms Kathryn Medlock said that the museum had received many requests to dissect its pouch young over the years but requests were always refused.
“One of the major advantages of this new technology is that it has enabled us to do research and answer many questions without destruction of the sample specimens. This is a significant advancement that also has an additional benefit of helping us to learn more about the identity of these specimens that have been in the TMAG collection for many years.”
An exciting outcome of the research is that the 3D digital Tasmanian tiger models are to be made publicly available as a resource for current and future researchers.
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.
Clearing our Koalas Away is a damning new report by Dailan Pugh (North East Forest Alliance, July 2017) that puts together intensive logging maps recently obtained via Freedom of Information, and the EPAs new koala habitat model. [Candobetter.net Editor: This article is republished from The North East Forest Alliance site at nefa.org.au. There is also an article about this by Sue Arnold at Independent Australia: Koala extinction looms on NSW North Coast due to Government 'vandalism'.]
The principal findings of this review are that:
Within the 103 State Forest compartments currently being actively logged on public land in north east NSW there are 4,663 ha of modelled high quality Koala habitat and 357 Koala records.
The identified protection for Koalas in current logging entails 2 Koala High Use Areas totalling 1.2ha from which logging is excluded and the identification of 15% of the high quality habitat as "Intermediate Use Habitat" where 5 feed trees of any size are required to be retained per hectare. This is mere tokenism.
Thirteen of the 20 current logging areas with >17% high quality Koala habitat are being targeted for logging intensities (regeneration and heavy Single Tree Selection) involving up to 60-86% basal area removal in blatant contravention of the Integrated Forestry Operations Approval (IFOA's) limit of 40% basal area removal.
During the period when it was practiced from 2000-2010 over 10,000ha of forests in the Lower North East region were allocated to Australian Group Selection patch clearfelling, incorporating 6,460ha of high quality Koala habitat, despite a prohibition on the use of AGS in "intermediate" Koala habitat.
Since 2006 in the Lower North East region. the Forestry Corporation have subjected 74,906 ha to the unlawful logging practices of 'medium', 'heavy' and 'regeneration' Single Tree Selection involving 41-100% basal area removal. This is comprised of 23,742 ha (32%) of high quality Koala habitat and 717 Koala records.
Of the unlawfully logged area, 23,340 ha has been subjected to 'heavy' and 'regeneration' STS, comprised of 39% high quality Koala habitat, in what amounts to clearing and conversion to quasi plantations.
Over the past 10 years the Forestry Corporation have progressively and unlawfuly converted half of the logging area of the proposed North Coast Intensive Zone in the Lower North East Region to "quasi plantations", with the proposed zoning to give retrospective approval.
There have been no records of Koalas from 41% of the current logging areas encompassing high quality Koala habitat, and no records for at least the past 9 years in 12% of the areas. Records over the past 20 years indicate that Koalas are in decline across State Forests.
There needs to be an urgent intervention to stop the accelerating degradation of Koala habitat in north-east NSW. Surveys need to be urgently undertaken to identify all areas containing remnant Koala populations. Identified areas, along with sufficient additional areas of potential Koala high quality habitat and habitat linkages, need to be fully protected to establish viable populations across the landscape.
In 1996, on the sixtieth anniversary of the last Tasmanian tiger’s death in Hobart Zoo in 1936, 7 September was declared ‘National Threatened Species Day’ — a time to reflect on what happened to the thylacine and how similar fates could await other native plants and animals unless appropriate action is taken.
Image: Numbat, Perth Zoo, Western Australia
Image: Thylacines at the Beaumaris Zoo in Hobart, 1910.
On the same day as the Federal Elections, it is perhaps significant that conservation and biodiversity programs are at risk.
In the central highlands of Victoria, about an hour and a half drive away, are the remnant mountain ash forests where the state’s Fauna emblem lives – the endangered Leadbeaters Possum, currently being assessed for upgrading the status as critically endangered. Who we elect to govern us after Threatened Species Day could well determine the future survival or extinction of species.
Leadbeaters Possum, Victoria's faunal emblem, could be extinct in 20 years unless logging pressure is removed. The Helmeted Honeyeater, our Victorian State bird emblem, is also under threat from loss of habitat. The Yellingbo and Tonimbuk reserves (where this species lives) are slowly dying from changed water flow regimes.
Australia's landscapes and species have been severely impacted by over 200 years of habitat loss and fragmentation. The impacts of land development, introduced plants and animals, grazing, salinity, changed fire regimes, pollution, and a changing climate all place additional pressure on our threatened species and their shrinking habitats.
National lists of threatened species, threatened communities, threatening processes and the recovery plans that are supposed to underpin action are out of date and inconsistent. Too often, governments turn their failure to properly monitor species decline into an excuse to do nothing on the grounds that they do not have sufficient information.
The National Sustainability Council's 2013 report (PDF) claimed to be unable to report on the status of species and ecosystems because the data were too poor. ( MyEnvironment )
Conservation Council of WA Director Piers Verstegen said, “Right now, the WA Government’s logging agency is completely exempt from both State and Commonwealth laws designed to protect endangered wildlife such as numbats and black cockatoos.
“This leaves us in the appalling situation where the logging industry can clear fell whole forests with no legal protections for the endangered wildlife that depends on them for survival.
“The numbat is WA’s state mammal emblem and yet there are fewer than 1,000 left in the wild , which is around half the number of surviving giant pandas. We can’t afford to lose any more numbats or black cockatoos to the highly destructive logging industry.”
#sthash.pKiSP9BG.dpuf">Australia is grossly underfunding biodiversity conservation. The carbon pricing package that Julia Gillard negotiated with the Greens and independents included the establishment of a $1 billion fund for biodiversity programs. Rudd recently axed A$213 million for biodiversity conservation in the carbon price shake-up.
Coalition environment spokesperson Greg Hunt has announced the appointment of a Commissioner for Threatened Species if his side is elected, but no additional biodiversity funding. The Coalition is also promising to give away Commonwealth power to the states via a one-stop shop for all environmental approvals. Without power and resources, the commissioner is window-dressing.
WWF-Australia Director of Conservation Dr Gilly Llewellyn said that (2012) “It’s now over 70 years since the last Tasmanian tiger died in captivity and we are witnessing the possible winding back of crucial environmental laws, which will leave our threatened species even more vulnerable to the impacts of major projects like dams, coal-ports, mines and greenfield housing developments.”
Australia has 55 extinct animal species, 42 extinct plants and 1694 nationally threatened species. Australian species currently on the Critically Endangered list include:
• The orange-bellied parrot – reduced to less than 50 birds in the wild;
• The eastern grey nurse shark – reduced to around 500 individuals left in the wild;
• The bridled nailtail wallaby – estimated to be between 400 and 600 left in the wild;
• The speartooth shark – reduced to less than 250 individuals in the wild;
• The Gilbert's potoroo – reduced to less than 50 individuals in the wild.
Ironically, the National Threatened Species Network that inaugurated the day is itself extinct. It was de-funded in 2006.
Since then, the federal government seems to have lost interest in threatened species. Successive state of the environment reports have highlighted the continuing decline of native plants and animals, and pointed to the glaring lack of systematic, long term monitoring – a concern echoed by the independent review of the federal environment laws.
A report in 2011 by three conservation groups, aptly titled Into Oblivion : the disappearing mammals of northern Australia, found that even in the vast and seemingly natural landscapes of northern Australia, mammals like quolls, bandicoots, possums and smaller wallabies are headed for extinction in the next 10-20 years unless we take action.
"It is now increasingly apparent that the conservation security assumed for or offered by northern Australia is rapidly eroding. Evidence of decline comes from a range of sources, including broad-scale inventory and comparison with historical records, large-scale formal monitoring programs,
extensive documentation of Indigenous knowledge, and targeted studies of individual species".
Of 1232 Australian bird species and subspecies, one-quarter would do badly when exposed to the effects of climate change later this century, the report finds.
It calls for funds now, for what would eventually be a $940 million program to safeguard birds from Cape York to Tasmania.
''A billion dollars over 50 years for conserving Australia's birds in the face of climate change is paltry compared to the cost of biodiversity loss,'' the 'Climate Change Adaptation Strategies for Australian Birds' report states.
Tasmania's iconic Devils are suffering catastrophic decline from facial tumour disease. The Great Barrier Reef is under threat of being listed as World Heritage "in danger" but the government has merely deferred, not rejected, plans for massive coal port development and dredging.
The Animal justice Party supports the establish a new and fully funded National Endangered Species Program underpinned by a National Endangered Species Recovery Fund.
In the lead up to the Federal Election the major political parties have had the opportunity to provide their responses to Humane Society International questionnaire on environmental (and animal welfare) policy matters – click here to see how they responded.
The Australian Wildlife Protection Council (AWPC) is gravely concerned by the ‘use and commercialisation of Australian native animals’, their extinction rates, cruelty inflicted on them, and recreational hunting. Even more so, given that Australia has the world’s highest extinction rate. Instead of apologising for crimes against nature, the Victorian State Government seeks to extend further exploitation.
(Candobetter Ed. Some headings in this submission have been changed for clarity of presentation.)
Australian Wildlife Protection Council (AWPC)
288 Brunswick Street
Environment Policy Division
Department of Sustainability and Environment
PO Box 500 East Melbourne VIC 3002
With reference to
Wildlife Regulations 2013 Regulatory Impact Statement
3 May 2013
The Australian Wildlife Protection Council appreciates the opportunity to provide a submission.
We are gravely concerned by the ‘use and commercialisation of Australian native animals’, their extinction rates, cruelty inflicted on them, recreational hunting. Even more so, given that Australia has the world’s highest extinction rate.
Instead of apologising for crimes against nature, Government seeks to extend further exploitation.
"Protected" wildlife should remain protected.
Australian Wildlife Protection Council (AWPC) was founded in 1969.
Our members are dedicated to the preservation of Australia’s native animals, their protection from exploitation, and any other cruelty to which they are routinely subjected, so that they can live safe in their native habitat across their natural ranges.
We seek their freedom from lethal controls, agricultural toxins, herbicides, pesticides, and poisons like 1080, fenthion, fenitrothion. We believe that wildlife needs to be protected and conserved in their natural ecological habitats.
We seek a change in attitudes, especially when they are needlessly killed, poisoned, commercialised and otherwise persecuted.
We aim to promote the intrinsic qualities of kangaroos and Australia's wildlife heritage so that viable populations are seen as desirable and valuable.
We aim to promote the viewing of large mobs of kangaroos as a first class wildlife experience and support the development and marketing of wildlife-based tourism.
The letter below totally encapsulates the opinion of AWPC, we are repulsed by the subaltern attitude with which DSE and this Government treat the citizens of this state.
The Age, April 27/28/2013 Joan Reilly, Surrey Hills
“The state government is reviewing the wildlife regulations but, although the consultation concludes in less than a week, readers of “The Age” are unlikely to have heard of it. The relevant notices were placed only in the Murdoch tabloid and the Government Gazette, some three weeks ago”.
Members of the public and animal welfare groups and animals themselves are omitted from the list of stakeholders affected by the proposals. Anyone concerned to find out about new rules for those who trap, keep, breed, trade, kill or process wildlife will need to peruse some 200 pages of proposals and also refer back to about 80 pages of existing regulations to understand what will change”.
“The focus is on economic benefit to businesses and reduced public sector workload.
The arrogance of this regulation by stealth is breathtaking”.
“There is a strong and growing interest in the Victorian community to keep wildlife as pets”.
While some smaller native animals such as reptiles, fish and birds can be housed and cared for appropriately as pets, we do not endorse opening up more wildlife species for commercial sales.
“Without the regulations in place, there would be no authorising mechanism to allow legal trade, possession and use of wildlife in Victoria”.
We appreciate that wildlife parks will breed native animals to keep their populations relevant and viable.
However, “there is also a demand for the farming of some species of wildlife, the processing of wildlife products, the control of wildlife causing problems to people through disturbance or damage to property and the private possession of mounted wildlife”.
Kangaroos, in particular, cannot be farmed; kangaroos cannot be yarded, herded or transported as are domestic livestock. AWPC vigorously opposes “farming” of wildlife, the use of their body parts as such practices ignore the most basic behavioural and dietary needs of this living behaving biological entity. “Control” of wildlife is already out of control.
“DSE estimates that the annual expenditure on wildlife by private and commercial licence holders is in the order of $63.7 million per annum”.
There's a very malicious and anthropocentric attitude that wildlife are obliged to satisfy some usefulness to humans, to contribute to pleasure, entertainment or commercial profits, and conversely, wildlife can be eliminated if they cause any “problems”, “disturbance” or “damage” to property or profits of landholders. Wildlife should remain wild, and should not have to justify their existence in monetary terms. The harvest of native animals from their native habitat is prohibited under the Wildlife Act 1975. This should remain the case and legislation regarding wildlife should be primarily for conservation, protection, and education.
The need for regulations
“New regulatory proposals, including the remaking of expired regulations that impose a significant economic or social burden on a sector of the public, require the preparation of a Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS)”.
The “economic” and “social burden” is green tape designed to protect wildlife. Wildlife issues must be addressed holistically, and landholders need to be given expert advice on land use and wildlife deterrents to avoid conflicts. The efficiency and effectiveness of regulations should endorse their original aims and objectives, not increase human gain and economic benefits. Tragically, many unique animals are found nowhere else but south-eastern Australia, Victoria. Yet, they are being pushed to the brink of extinction by habitat loss, introduced species, infectious diseases, fire, urban sprawl and climate change. Clearly, the excessive numbers of human activities means that present legislation and policies to protect wildlife in Victoria are not working, and species are being lost. The Wildlife Act 1975 needs to be upgraded to create better guarantees for species protection, more native habitat for their long-term survival, and interconnecting bio-links (wildlife corridors) to save species.
"The purposes of the Wildlife Act 1975 (Vic) are:
to establish procedures in order to promote -
the protection and conservation of wildlife; and
the prevention of taxa of wildlife from becoming extinct; and
the sustainable use of and access to wildlife; and
to prohibit and regulate the conduct of persons engaged in activities concerning or related to wildlife."
AWPC does not support any “use” of wildlife except for educational and conservation purposes. The original aim of the Wildlife Act 1975 must be strengthened, to provide greater protection of habitat, elimination and/or control of introduced species, fire, urban sprawl and climate change. Australia’s unique wildlife lived safely in near-pristine environments for millions of years, but European settlement has taken a catastrophic toll on their long-term survival. Exemptions for landholders, those with vested interests to utilise wildlife, would create more deaths, increase illegal trade and commercial profits.
3. Proposed wildlife regulations
The proposed regulations incorporate some new provisions and changes, including streamlining some licence categories, resetting fees, adding a number of new species that may be kept and introducing multi-year licences.
We object to “adding a number of new species” that may be kept by the public. Native birds live in flocks. Isolating them in cages is a tragic existence.
It is ethically wrong to keep pet birds in tiny cages where flying is inhibited. Native parrots and cockatoos should not be confined in cages but only in aviaries with sufficient height, depth and width for flight and social interaction with other birds. Cockatoos are large birds and have large requirements. They are not suitable as backyard pets in cages. The numbers in cages need to be limited according to space. (experts must specify according to size, breed and behaviours). They need to be only kept in very large aviaries, in wildlife parks or in regional areas with carers experienced in the care of native parrots and cockatoos - and their special needs.
Native mammals need habitat and specialised food sources to live ethically and naturally. There are already a large variety of domestic pet species of animals available; pet rescue centres struggle to provide services to keep up with demand. We have “death row” for unwanted and homeless cats and dogs, puppy factories that churn out puppies to an already over-saturated market. Cruelty, neglect, over-breeding, abandonment are the flip-side of our so-called pet-friendly society.
It is immoral and unethical to add native animals to these shocking statistics.
Wildlife controller licences are to be categorised into 2 types.
AWPC is already concerned by the liberal and excessive way DSE hand out licences to “control” wildlife with Authority To Control Wildlife (ATCW) permits, without first obtaining expert advice on alternatives to killing, or even checking to see if there is justification that such “control” is valid.
Two categories for “controlling” wildlife is odious, undesirable and totally unnecessary. Instead there needs to be more DSE wildlife officers on the road, visiting farmers and landholders, and making sure that lethal “control” is the LAST RESORT not the first option.
The ATCW permit system is only a quasi set of rules and regulations and is in desperate need of total law reform as evidenced in our letter to Greg Wilson, Secretary DSE dated 26 August 2012.
Wildlife Processors Licence
AWPC is extremely concerned about this licence, the “processing” of wildlife for commercial benefits is something that the AWPC strongly opposes and we believe this licence is a thinly veiled attempt to usher into Victoria a commercial Kangaroo industry.
We are very aware of the changes the Victorian Government has made to the Ministerial control of the Wildlife Act the majority of which is under the control of Peter Walsh Minister for Agriculture and Food Safety which begs the question; what connection is there between wildlife and agriculture? Apart from the frequent issuing of ATCW’s It has been proven on many occasions that a commercial kangaroo industry in Victoria isn’t ecologically sustainable. (CSIRO 1982)
The DSE issues thousands of permits to cull kangaroos in Victoria each year - with the aim of controlling wild populations. Carcasses are often left to rot on the ground after a cull creating potential disease risks while providing a food source for feral animals and in turn, encouraging the growth of fox populations.
The practice of leaving Kangaroo carcasses on the ground has germinated the idea that these carcasses should be available for commercial use, hence the need for a ‘processor’s licence’
The commercial use of Kangaroo carcasses shot under and ATCW permit is insanity because of the logistics of collection, hygiene and knowledge of where and when Kangaroo culling will occur.
The issuing of a processors license for this reason, no matter how illogical or unsustainable it may be does however serve a purpose and AWPC believes this purpose is the subterfuge introduction of a commercial Kangaroo industry into Victoria once processor licenses are available.
A new category of wildlife licence, the Dingo Licence, has been introduced for those wishing to keep dingoes. This will incur a fee similar to a Wildlife Advanced Licence.
We note that some native rats, cockatoos and parrots have been added to the list of species:
Schedule 4A means that there's no licence for commercial trade or possession. There will be little regulation for this species and they will be sold at market. They will end up similar to gold fish or canaries, with no guarantee for their welfare or specialised social, spatial and environmental needs.
4. Regulatory Impact Statement
“Wildlife enthusiasts will benefit from continued recreational wildlife ownership opportunities and businesses that possess, trade or use wildlife will benefit from a well- managed, legal and robust industry”.
The AWPC opposes industrialisation or the commercialisation of wildlife. The idea of a “robust” industry is contrary to the aim of conservation and animal welfare policies of the AWPC. We do not want or support the economic growth of “industries” associated with wildlife, unless they support their holistic conservation and education of the public.
5. Monitoring and Enforcement
“Monitoring of licence holders will be carried out through targeted and random inspections of premises and record books by DSE Wildlife Compliance Officers or in response to suspected illegal activity or non-compliance with the requirement to submit annual returns”.
If there are enough Victorian government personal resources for these random inspections, they should include random inspections of property owners before they are able to lethally “control” (kill) wildlife.
Wildlife Farmer Licence
The AWPC do not approve of “farms” of wildlife. Emu farms means that emus become another exotic “meat” source and end up bred in captivity, contrary to our policies. Emus belong to the oldest living family of birds on earth, the rarities or flightless fowl. They are nomads, designed by 90 million years of evolution to roam over vast tracks of land.
Subjecting emus with their long thin necks and legs, and large fragile eyes, to transport is cruel and inhumane. Slaughter bound birds and mammals are typically starved for hours, even days before they are killed. Hauled in all kinds of weather, they are forced to endure truck vibrations, heat, stress, cold, damp, thirst and terror. They are then shot with a captive bolt, like cattle or, like poultry, electrically shocked (not stunned) and then hung upside down to have their throats cut, being kept alive when their blood drains. They are slaughtered at 12-15 months of age. This is degrading, and trivialising these unique birds. Adding any “game” birds to this farming category is unconscionable and unethical.
Game Bird Farmer Licence
“Allows the holder to farm game birds that have been bred in captivity for the purpose of releasing them on a specified premise for hunting (from Part A of Schedule 5 and specified in the licence)”.
We do not believe in the recreation of hunting wildlife. Breeding in captivity for hunting is akin to canned hunting, and is something which is abhorrent to wildlife activists and lovers.
Attachment (A ) - Key changes in the proposed Wildlife Regulations 2013
“Wildlife Controller Licence Allows the holder to take wildlife from the wild and to destroy, dispose of or sell that wildlife for the purpose of removing danger to persons or property from that wildlife (from Schedule 6, and specified in the licence)”.
Examples of species that may be controlled under this licence are venomous snakes, deer, Common Brushtail Possums and Sulphur-crested Cockatoos”.
Deer are NOT Australian wildlife. Common Brushtail Possums and Sulphur-crested Cockatoo never endanger human lives, and there are non-lethal methods of deterring their impacts.
Possums are native wildlife. All native wildlife is protected under the Wildlife Act 1975. There are non-lethal ways of dealing with possums, such as relocation and trees and gardens around our houses provide modified woodland similar to their natural habitat. People and possums can live together successfully.
There are companies that supply engineering controls for cockatoos, including ultrasonic devices, kites and other visual deterrents, low voltage shock tape, birdspikes and noise deterrents.
[Any Proposal for a Commercial Kangaroo Industry in Victoria..].
AWPC advises that should consideration be given to the introduction of a commercial Kangaroo industry into Victoria, the following must be carefully read and understood before any final decisions are made.
Weekly Times article favours commercial kangaroo culls
“The ban on commercial processing of culled kangaroos in Victoria must be lifted, the Competition and Efficiency Commission has told the State Government. A draft commission report said the ban appeared ‘unnecessarily burdensome’. The Weekly Times asked Victorian Environment Minister Ryan Smith for comment on the issue, but was referred instead to the office of Treasurer Kim Wells... The commission also called on the Government to simplify the process for obtaining permits, estimating the cost of issuing each Authority to Control Wildlife Permit (ATCW) was about $480... ‘Taking into account the need for a site visit and the rigor of the permit system...yields an administrative cost of approximately $480, or $863,000 across industry”, the VCEC report said.
Victoria is the only mainland state to prohibit commercial processing of its kangaroos...” Source: Peter Hunt, 'Processing Ban ROO-Turn, Hop to it', Weekly Times, April 6, 2011.
Relative to the above Weekly times article, AWPC Submits:
"The density of grey kangaroos in western Victoria and south-eastern South Australia is only 15% of that recorded for the pastoral zone of New South Wales. Such low densities reflect the effect of intensive land use and the marginal nature for kangaroos in remaining areas of natural vegetation.” With exponential human population growth and devastation of a prolonged drought, a commercial kangaroo ‘harvest’ for Victoria would be economically unviable/ unsustainable. Kangaroos are facing more threats than ever today, with the 13 year long drought, tragic bushfires, loss of gene pool, urban expansion, floods, disease and climate change factors. Why push them further into ‘extinction’ mode, and threaten their survival even further? This is what commercial profits for kangaroo meat will do.
Kangaroo meat was classified as Game Meat in 1989 by a Game Meat Working Party, established by the Federal Government. The decision to remove kangaroos from the protected List and change their status to Game Meat was made because: (a) Kangaroo meat could not meet domestic health standards and (b) No animal welfare or conservation groups were present
Ramifications of fevered meat entering the food chain is explained by Dr John Auty, Historian, Veterinarian and former Federal Bureau of Animal Health, Canberra, ACT.
“Meat hygiene standards require for all classes of animals that any condition that can cause elevation of body temperature has the potential to cause the condition known as ‘fevered’ meat. Such meat is unsuitable for human consumption.
A condition causing blindness in kangaroos, stress, inability to eat or to find water, elevation of body temperature etc. should result in condemnation of the meat from such diseased animals. It is immaterial if this condition causes generalised septicaemia or not”.
“Kangaroo shooters are not competent to judge disease in animals ante mortem unless the disease is well advanced and it is not in their economic interests to reject animals (kangaroos)”.
“The Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) inspectors inspect kangaroos only after they are transferred to coastal BONING establishments i.e. after they have been eviscerated in the field. Such meat hygiene standards are not acceptable for domestic animals”.
“Whereas the diseases that affect domestic animals are well understood and form the basis for modern meat hygiene, the diseases affecting kangaroos are virtually unknown and there are virtually no Veterinarians based in the areas in which kangaroos are shot”.
How Clean is the Kill?
“Kangaroos are wild animals shot in the outback and they lay on the ground with the flies, airborne bacteria, faeces of other animals and other contaminants. Some of the diseases associated with kangaroo meat are:
*Salmonellae *Coxiella *Sarcocysts *Nematodes *Fasciolia Hepatic Flukes *Subcutaneous and Musculature Cysts *Hydatid Cysts Kangaroos carry internal and external parasites and a range of diseases
The outbreak of a blindness disease infection (Choroid Blindness) which spread across four states in the years ’94, ’95, ’96 caused the death of an estimated one million kangaroos and represented a serious ecological problem to kangaroo populations. Government attempted to keep the issue out of the public arena and displayed ineptitude and an appalling lack of responsibility.
Blind kangaroos were killed or died after jumping in front of traffic, drowning after falling into flowing rivers or starving because they could not find pasture. Source: AWPC 1999. ‘Diseases in Kangaroo Meat’ in The Kangaroo BETRAYED, Hill of Content Melbourne, pp 31-33)
Kangaroos and wallabies can harbour a wide range of parasitic, bacterial, fungal and viral diseases and the majority of infections are unapparent (i.e. animals appear normal). Even meat inspection procedures are unlikely to detect some infections unless gross lesions are detected or routine samples are taken for microbiological and pathological testing.
Worldwide, it is recognised that so-called ‘game meats’ are a source of these infections for hunters, processors and consumers, especially when care is not taken while eviscerating and handling the carcasses or when the meat from these animals is served undercooked or raw. Trichinosis, cysticercosis and toxoplasmosis are examples of parasitic zoonoses (i.e. diseases transmissible from animals to humans).
In Australia, Toxoplasmosis and the bacterial disease, Salmonellosis are two infections with public health significance directly related to the handling, processing and consumption of kangaroo meat. The October issue of Woman’s’ Day (1995) reported that a food-borne outbreak of toxoplasmosis caused acute clinical illnesses in 12 humans and one case of congenital chorio-retinitis (inflammation of the eye tissues) in a new born baby. The mother of the affected baby together with the 12 other people had attended a Christmas function at which rare kangaroo medallions were served. A thorough epidemiological investigation concluded that the most likely ‘risk food’ was the kangaroo meat.
Even ‘new’ human diseases have been shown to have origins in Australian game meat. In 1993 the first confirmed human case of Pseudotrichinosis was diagnosed. The medical investigators concluded that the patient became infected in Tasmania through eating meat, most probably derived from a wild animal. Subsequent research conducted at the University of Tasmania showed that about 2% of Tasmanians surveyed had antibodies to this muscle-encysting nematode.
Professor John Goldsmid, Lecturer in Microbiology at the University of Tasmania expressed his scientific concerns about the lack of research into a range of diseases and parasites transmissible between Tasmanian native animals and humans.
Australia has no dedicated research or diagnostic facility to investigate wildlife diseases. Detections of new diseases are handled on an ad hoc basis by government or university laboratories.
Possums trapped overnight in wire cages (comparable to that described in the brush possum code) show that cage distress and attempts to escape causes muscle damage comparable to capture-stress myopathy of deer. Tasmania is the only State of Australia listed by the WHO as having endemic trichinosis in its wildlife. The Tasmanian Department responsible for permitting a game meat industry denied there was a public health risk associated with the harvesting and processing of Tasmanian possum. Tasmanian wildlife harbour parasitic diseases which are serious infections in humans.
A recent scientific report of the International Health Organisation, the Office Internationale des Epizootes warns that wild animal meats which are raw, undercooked, dried or cold-smoked are potentially infectious to animal or humans that consume them.
The incidence of Toxoplasma abortions and infertility is amongst the highest in Australia. Free ranging wallabies, pademelons, bandicoots and wombats are regularly killed by this infection and surveys show a high percentage of wallabies harbour this infection.
The concern is that chefs and food raconteurs recommend cooking methods which would not kill this parasite.
A newly identified worm thought to be derived from marsupials was found to be responsible for acute illness in two humans. Like Trichinella they invade muscles. The worms are thought to belong to a class of nematodes known as Muscpiceoids. In wallabies and possums these nematodes live in several tissues of the body and can invade muscles.
In his paper to the University of Tasmania (1997 114 ), Professor John Goldsmid said, "Kliks (1983) identified the aetiological agents of human infectious diseases as "heirloom" or "souvenir" species, depending on their evolutionary association with humans. Amongst the most important of the souvenir species are the zoonotic infections, infecting humans as a result of animal-human contact of some kind and varying from companionable contact to utilisation of animals as a food source.
In the last 25 or so years, of 35 new or newly recognised infections in humans, 20 (57%) have been zoonotic in origin - some trivial, some devastating to both the individual and the community.
With the increase in the numbers of immunocompromised people in the community resulting from medical treatment or as a result of the spread of AIDS, the problem of zoonotic infections will continue and there seems little doubt that the likely source for many of these new human infections in Australia will be the native animal population.
People who eat undercooked wallaby or kangaroo meat could be at risk of infection by a newly-discovered animal parasite, Australian doctors have warned. The parasite was found in a Tasmanian man who suffered from inexplicable and severe muscle weakness over a number of years. He was known to consume large quantities of game. ("Parasite Risk to Game Eaters" November 7, 1997 Animal Pharmacology No. 384)
Laboratory tests suggests that the parasite is a new species of microscopic worm. It may also have been responsible for a similar infection in a New Zealand woman who had eaten wallaby meat while visiting Tasmania.
"The cases highlight the risks of eating wild game, the parasites of which are poorly understood compared with those of livestock. More studies are needed to identify disease agents in these animals and to elucidate the role of native animal species in the transmission of diseases to humans."
Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission (VCEC) call for commercial kangaroo industry
Victoria has no fauna management framework;
Victoria has no scientific kangaroo population data. Given there is no population data, commercial utilization is economically unviable and unsustainable for survival of kangaroos.
DSE data base fails threatened species
Roads are a Threatening process
Genetic variability / Wildlife Corridors and to re-connect bio-links to save species
Human induced threats and self-limiting factors control kangaroo populations
Climate change/ population growth driving species to extinction Climate change/ population growth driving species to extinction
DSE has a Duty of Care -Kangaroos are not a Commodity to be bartered and sold
We know that overwhelmingly, it is mostly ‘hobby farmers’ who seek ATCW permits. We seek Regulations for ATCW permits to be issued only to landowners whose sole income is from legitimate farming, as opposed to ‘hobby’ farmers for tax deductibility write offs.
Left just with the sole income farmers, this becomes an area that needs education/ awareness of productive farming in harmony with biodiversity and ecosystems; Learn to live with wildlife.
This is the only way to stop the ethically, morally and humanely deficient and farcical practice of DSE issuing ATCW kill kangaroo Permits in Victoria.
Prove that the ATCW permits DSE gives away like candy are legitimate, with tight conditions
This is particularly pertinent to wildlife carers who already suffer from ATCW permits given to adjoining landowners placing at risk the very kangaroos they have a license to hand rear.
Under the current system it costs Victorian tax payers for landowners to kill protected kangaroos without their say or consent; (yet taxpayers have to pay hefty $$$ for FOI)
Why then is this cost not passed onto the landowner if they are benefitting from it?
DSE data base fails kangaroos and threatened species
In Victoria 2006, Exec Director Dr Ian Miles arranged for Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) Adrian Moorrees, Project Manager, Actions for Biodiversity Conservation (ABC), Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Division to demonstrate to AWPC, the DSE Actions Biodiversity Conservation (ABC) Data Base system. We discovered that “DSE uses an inadequate Victoria-wide definition of ‘threatened’ which means that local populations can be extinguished without sounding the alarm so long as some numbers remain for the whole state ; pockets where animals appear numerous, due to fragmented populations trapped in small areas, are not assigned official ‘threatened’ status. Little effective tab is kept of numbers. More and more native species simply vanish, Sheila Newman, Environmental and Land Use Planning Sociologist for the Australian Wildlife Protection Council.
In Hamilton the west of the state, will argue that every other state has Environment Australia-approved management plans to harvest kangaroos for export. But in Victoria kangaroos are culled only for damage control. Annually, 9000-30,000 animals are authorised to be destroyed. The council will argue there is a potential commercial use for these kangaroo products, but current regulations did not allow culled kangaroos to be moved from where they died.
Ms Wolf-Tasker said it was "wonderful to see a council being pro-active on this''. "We've used kangaroo meat here for a decade but because of Victoria's rule we have to buy it from South Australia, despite kangaroos being culled here,'' she said. "Kangaroo is a great, healthy product. "It is has a more gamey flavour and is one of the last wild foods. "It is wonderful to use it with locally-grown indigenous plants from this area, such as the mountain pepper.'' Ms Wolf-Tasker said consumers increasingly wanted to know where their meat came from and kangaroo was a very popular, "natural, wild food''.
Despite concerns raised by some animal rights groups over using kangaroo meat for human consumption, Ms Wolf-Tasker said if the "necessary culling was properly regulated, using the meat for human consumption could prevent the waste of what is a very good product''. She said kangaroos needed to be culled when in plague proportions because they "caused havoc on farms and in the local environment''. A spokeswoman for Environment Minister Ryan Smith said yesterday the State Government was evaluating the feasibility of commercial harvesting of wild kangaroos with advice from the Department of Primary Industries. "We will await the outcome of that work before making decision about possible changes to regulation to allow commercial kangaroo harvesting,'' she said.
THINKK, the think tank for kangaroos, based at the University of Technology Sydney and supported by Voiceless, released two reports late last year examining the killing of kangaroos in Australia. Each year over three million kangaroos are ‘harvested’ and over a million joeys are killed as part of the commercial industry. This is the largest land-based slaughter of wildlife in the world.
The reports, titled “Advocating kangaroo meat: towards ecological benefit or plunder?” and “Shooting our wildlife: An analysis of the law and policy governing the killing of kangaroos”, conclude that:
emerging science indicates that kangaroos are not pests;
over 20 years of harvesting kangaroos has had no demonstrable environmental benefit;
increased consumption of kangaroo meat by humans is likely to place kangaroo populations at risk;
State governments once treated kangaroos as agricultural pests yet today they are treated as a resource;
The current law is a form of legalised cruelty.
Please download the reports by following this link. http://www.voiceless.org.au/About_Us/Misc/THINKK_the_think_tank_for_kangaroos.html
For additional information about THINKK, please visit their website at http://thinkkangaroos.uts.edu.au.
From Conservation to Exploitation in South Australia
“In any wild animal if you disrupt in a short period of time the normal reproduction processes that have evolved over tens of thousands of years you are in danger of putting the species at risk. Precedents have been set in other parts of the world where large populations of a species ( seals. Bison, wolves etc) have faced extinction after widespread and destructive ‘culling’ programs. Many of these species suffered incursion of exotic bacterias and viruses when their populations contained a critical and unsustainable gene pool.
To be able to undertake the largest wildlife slaughter in the world today it was necessary to undertake a long and sustained program of misinformation within Australia to convince the community that these animals are in plague proportions throughout the country areas of Australia. This was achieved by presenting he animal as a “resource” that needed to be exploited. A program of ‘shoot and let lie’ would have avoided the introduction of commercial pressures (COOMA, ACT and surrounds + MUDGEE and surrounds) on the wild animals and forced the introduction of the less destructive commercial ‘alternative’.
Where farmers and pastoralists (with sheep, cattle and crops) are in competition with any native animal, the government administrators always favour the land owner. Whatever native animal is involved, that animal is marked for destruction.
There are many examples of this entrenched ‘destructive culture’, now being undertaken in South Australia.” Source: Chapter ‘From Conservation to Exploitation in South Australia’ by Doug Reilly Macropod expert in the AWPC 1999 publication, The Kangaroo BetrayedHill of Content, Melbourne, p.37.
Maryland Wilson President
Vivienne Ortega Vice President
Cienwen Hickey Research
Sheila Newman Environmental Sociologist Land Use Planner
This Friday, 7 December, the Federal Government plans to give away environmental assessment authority to the states. Candobetter readers should take any opportunity they can to avoid this devolution of our already semi-toothless legislation. Here is an opportunity to add your signature to a petition. There is also a Get-up campaign. Readers are invited to let us know of any other actions they are taking.Links to petitions etc inside.
What is the EPBC Act and why is it such a big deal?
Virtually the only functioning piece of environmental legislation in Australia is the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (1999), or the EPBC Act. It is the only law that individual citizens can bring a complaint under. The state environmental laws require you to find an officer in a government department or some other rare organisation with 'standing' who will bring a complaint for you. If you have tried to do this you will realise how this is almost impossible. Wildlife organisations and carers see grotesque crimes daily and cannot interest state bodies.
Under the federal EPBC legislation, the Federal Environment Minister, Tony Burke, has responsibility for assessing and approving (or rejecting) major development that will impact our nationally important places and wildlife, such as our World Heritage areas, threatened species and nuclear actions like uranium mines or nuclear waste dumps.
Apparently, due to industry lobbying (notably from the Business Council of Australia) and without consulting the Australian public, the government is gutting these laws and handing over most, if not all, of these federal responsibilities over to the States.
This means that Premiers like Campbell Newman, Collin Barnet, Ted Bailieu, Barry O'Farrell, etc., will be left solely in charge of protecting our Environment and World Heritage areas like the Great Barrier Reef. Since power over land and water resides in the states and they make much of their money out of buying, selling and regulating these for profit, they have a vested interest in developing land. The states are notorious for ignoring environmental law in favour of big money and development.
December 7, 2012 is D-Day for Environment
On December 7th, the Prime Minister and Tony Burke intend to hand over their environment responsibilities to the states through the Council of Australian Governments (COAG). Recent hard-won environmental protection in Australia has only been possible when the Federal Government stepped in to overrule bad state government decisions. See, most recently, Tony Burke shows courage in giving NSW and QLD koalas threatened status As the Australian Greens note, "If the States were in charge of the environment, they would have damned the Franklin River, put oil rigs in the Great Barrier Reef and let Traveston Dam go ahead."
Make no mistake; fracking, massive open-cut coal mining, huge housing developments, desecration of the Kimberlies, cattle on the highlands, fragmenting, farming and selling off of national and regional parks - will all be on state agendas.
Environment groups and scientific bodies like the Wentworth Group all agree – this change, being rushed through by COAG at the behest of big business - is the worst thing to happen for environmental protection in Australia for thirty years.
Petition to sign
The Australian Greens have put out a petition to sign http://greensmps.org.au/content/petition/minister-burke-dont-hand-your-powers-states and share with your networks.
http://www.getup.org.au/keep-federal-govt-enviro-powers Also asking for donations at Get-up and for a lot of information about you.
Disclaimer from Editor at Candobetter.net: Note, the petition is from the Australian Greens, some of whom have shamefully ignored population pressure from high immigration and have caused debate to focus on asylum seekers. They are now - oh so belatedly - calling on people to use them to support environmental laws. Despite these failings, the Australian public need to use this opportunity to try and defend their environmental legislation (which still needs to be much much stronger) as well as to use any other opportunities that may arise. So please consider signing. And similar for Get-up, which also ignores population and insists on getting a lot of information out of you which is no doubt useful to on-sell.
Source: Press release from the Australian Greens and the Humane Society International, and independent research. Contact was also attempted with the federal office of Environment Minister Tony Burke by phone and by email, but no-one was available to comment on the day that this article was written. If we receive a response to our email we will take it into consideration.
The Australian Wildlife Protection Council has taken unprecedented steps towards preparing a case for negligence against the Victorian Government and the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) for failing to protect Victorian Wildlife and failing to assign official 'Threatened Status' to species under threat. The Victorian Auditor General in 2009 warned that the Victorian government had failed to uphold their charter to fully implement the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 but the Government has since done nothing about this. There is at present no effective protection for wildlife in Victoria. The Department of Sustainability has declined into a kind of rubber stamp office-front for shooting licenses with an agenda mostly outsourced to corporate interests for massive urbanisation of the state.
Australian Wildlife Protection Council
September 16, 2012
A Case for Negligence by the Victorian Government and the Department of Sustainability and Environment, (DSE) for failing to protect Victorian wildlife. DSE fails to assign official "Threatened Status" to species under threat.
Former Executive Director Dr Ian Miles arranged for DSE Adrian Moorrees, Project Manager, Actions for Biodiversity Conservation (ABC), Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Division to demonstrate to AWPC the DSE Actions Biodiversity Conservation (ABC) Data Base system.
”DSE uses an inadequate Victoria-wide definition of ‘threatened’ which means that local populations can be extinguished without sounding the alarm so long as some numbers remain for the whole state; pockets where animals appear numerous, due to fragmented populations trapped in small areas, are not assigned official “threatened” status. Little effective tab is kept of numbers. More and more native species simply vanish!”
Sheila Newman Land- Use Planner and Environment Sociologist
The Victorian Government and DSE fail to uphold their charter to fully implement the Flora and Fauna (FFG) Act 1988. An important requirement under the FFG Act is the development of a ‘Flora and Fauna Strategy’ (Biodiversity Strategy). The former Government committed to renewing the Biodiversity Strategy and released a draft for public comment in June 2010. The Baillieu Government indicates that they have no plans to revive it.
The 2009 Auditor Generals’ Report revealed that “As a general rule the processes and measures available to conserve and protect flora and fauna have been abandoned by DSE because of their perceived complexity and difficulty of administering the provisions.” Lack of resources was cited as the reason for poor implementation of the FFG Act. As a result of this failure to uphold their charter, many of the legal measures to protect flora and fauna have never been implemented. The Auditor General’s Report was damming; the FFG Act no longer provides an effective framework for the protection of flora and fauna.
• DSE has not implemented 2009 recommendations made by the Victorian Auditor General
• DSE has failed to improve the ‘threatened species list
• The Victorian Government has failed to provide adequate resources to implement critical work.
• DSE has not published a compliance monitoring and enforcement policy
• DSE has not promoted transparency, accountability by identifying key information about
• DSE has not provided annual reports containing statements of implementation of flora and fauna conservation and management of their objectives.
• Victoria’s Biodiversity Strategy is significantly out of date.
• The Biodiversity Strategy was not approved before the change in Government and there is no set time frame for the strategies release and DSE have removed it from their web site.
• There is no indication that the Victoria Government is moving to adopt the existing draft or develop a new strategy.
Human population growth is causing environmental changes and coupled with climatic weather changes should make the implementation of the FFG Act a priority by any Victorian Government. Ignoring the significance of these events and failure By DSE and the present Victorian Government to take precautionary measures will result in the total destruction of our flora and fauna.
The Victorian Government and DSE are also guilty of negligence pertaining to the management and issuing of Authority to Control Wildlife Permits (ATCW). They have also shown a decided bias and are selective when nominating Committees set up for wildlife management. The Scientific Advisory Committee was established under Section 8 of the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988.
A new panel was appointed in March 2012 to oversee wildlife control and to assess applications to control wildlife which are of significant community interest. The panel consists of:
University of Melbourne - there are questions about ‘ethical practices’ within the zoology department
Bureau of Animal Welfare (DPI) - has a vested interest in domestic stock and little interest in wildlife
Zoos Victoria - the main objective of zoos is for captive breeding programs for endangered animals
RSPCA - has little interest in native animals with their emphasis being on domestic pets
There is no representation on this panel by independent persons or wildlife groups.
Pernicious (meaning destructive, very harmful) evasion can be applied to both examples used here.
The following Motion was moved at the Australian Wildlife Protection Council 2012 AGM:
(a) that the Australian Wildlife Protection Council Inc 2012 AGM challenges the Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) and the Victorian Government for negligence regarding their compliance with the DSE Fact sheet 1 – Issuing of Authority to Control Wildlife (ATCW)Permits. DSE is responsible for the management of Victorian wildlife and it is in this area that DSE has shown negligence in their statutory responsibility. Australian native animals belong to the Crown and the DSE has a Duty of Care to protect them and the habitat they need to survive. The DSE is bound by Rules and Regulations set by the Victorian Government, which is voted into power by the people and for the people. They are given a Mandate to manage State affairs on behalf of the people –
and I further move
(b) that the Australian Wildlife Protection Council Inc challenges the DSE and the Victorian Government for failing to implement provisions of the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 to protect wildlife. Concern about threatened waterbirds being shot by game shooters, leaving wounded, maimed unprotected threatened species, makes a mockery of the "guarantee".
Freedom of Information (FOI) obtained by the Victorian Greens Party DSE Authority to Control Wildlife Permits (ATCW) can be viewed at:
ATCW Permits Summary (Statewide) 2011
Species Permits Max No
Australia fur seal 2 110
Australian magpie 17 340
Australian magpie lark 3 22
Australian raven 75 2326
Australian shelduck 11 205
Australian white ibis 2 50
Black kite 2 40
Black swan 1 10
Black faced cuckoo-shrike 3 25
Black tailed native hen 6 170
Cape barren geese 2 302
Common brushtail possum 5 126
Common ringtail possum 1 5
Common wombat 134 1612
Crimsom Rosella 19 525
Dingo 1 10
Eastern brown snake 3 42
Eastern Grey Kangaroo 793 29152
Eastern Rosella 5 90
Emu 37 538
Galah 29 1275
Great cormorant 2 22
Grey butcherbird 2 30
Grey teal 3 140
Grey-headed flying fox 1 1000
Laughing Kookaburra 3 30
Little black cormorant 2 22
Little Corella 37 2457
Little Pied cormorant 2 22
Little Raven 7 195
Long billed corella 15 1160
Mallee Ringneck 3 15
Maned duck 94 3393
Masked lapwing 7 185
Musk Lorrikeet 39 2430
Noisy Friarbird 12 365
Pacific Black Duck 8 358
Pacific Heron 1 2
Pied Carrawong 22 640
Purple Swamphen 3 25
Rainbow Lorrikeet 20 910
Red Wattlebird 10 295
Red necked Wallaby 13 213
Satin Bowerbird 5 85
Silver Gull 38 10140
Silver Eye 13 380
Sulphur Crested Cockatoo 28 1098
Swamp Wallaby 128 2239
Tiger Snake 1 10
Welcome Swallow 2 11
Western Grey Kangaroo 56 1162
Yellow-tailed black-cockatoo 1 30
Background What is an ATCW Permit? An ATCW is a permit issued by DSE which allows the killing of native animals.
• Who can obtain an ATCW?
• Anyone can obtain an ATCW.
• What cost is involved to an applicant for an ATCW?
• There is absolutely no cost to the applicant but the cost to the Victorian tax payer is approximately $275 per application.
• If this cost were applied to each application it would drastically cut the number of ATCW’s issued.
What DSE say in their ‘Managing Wildlife’ – Fact sheet 1
A landowner or manager identifies a conflict with wildlife on their land which cannot be resolved by non- lethal techniques.
DSE do not give any education to landholder with regard to non-lethal methods unless a landowner specifically asks for help. Education about wildlife should be a priority with DSE and it is not.
The applicant completes the form by specifying the wildlife species causing the problem, number of individuals involved, non-lethal methods used, the proposed control method (scare only or destroy) and submits the application to DSE.
DSE take the word of landholders about the number of animals causing problems. Landholders are not required to validate either numbers of problem animals or the perceived damage.
In most cases, a DSE Officer inspects the property to determine the validity of the application.
In most cases this does not occur. By their own admission DSE do not have enough Officers to carry out inspections to validate claims made by landholders or undertake any follow-up monitoring. When a DSE Officer does go to a property to make an inspection, there is no requirement that numbers of animals sighted be validated by either photographs or video. In the case of macropods, when a DSE Officer sights and counts the number of ‘pest animals’ the number counted will be more than doubled as it is presumed that if they see 100, there will be 250 in the area, because there are those which they can’t see hiding in woodland.
How are ATCW applications assessed?
All ATCW applications are considered on a case by case basis and generally involve an on-ground inspection of the problem (unless the issuing Officer has firsthand knowledge of the property)
On ground inspections are extremely rare due to the lack of DSE Officers available to undertake inspections. Firsthand knowledge usually means a permit has been issued before but no inspection is carried out to confirm that the problem remains.
ATCW’s are only issued where there is a demonstrable need to control numbers and following consideration of: Severity of the problem, other measures available to control the problem, past management of the problem.
The ATCW system provides a structured and controlled way of responding to problems in a humane and sustainable manner. Without this system, it is likely that people experiencing damage would take matters into their own hands.
The ACTW system does not provide a structured and controlled way of responding to perceived problems and the very act of killing animals is neither ethical nor humane.
How is animal welfare insured?
All authorisations include strict conditions to ensure that animals are controlled in a humane manner. An ATCW does not confer any right to use poison and does not absolve the holder of any legal obligation under any other legislation, including the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986.
The strict conditions mentioned here consist of the type of gun which is to be used, the type of bullet and a diagram of where a shot should be placed in the case of Macropods and Wombats.
Animals which are not cleanly shot and are injured are not chased up by the landholder or the agent and put out of their misery; they are left to die agonising deaths which sometimes takes days. There is no ‘Prevention of Cruelty’.
DSE do not have any methods in place where records are kept of how many animals were actually killed, how many were injured and not found. There is no requirement by DSE for the holder of an ATCW to report these figures which means the permit holder could kill less than the permit allows or more likely, many more than the permit allows. It could be a bottomless pit.
There is also no requirement in the case of Macropods and Wombats to find any young at foot and no requirement for any in-pouch young to be humanly killed.
DSE do not have any system in place by which they test the competency of the person who is to do the shooting. The only requirement when applying for an ATCW is a current gun license number so anyone with a current license can shoot wildlife no matter how inexperienced.
Are ATCW’s Monitored?
DSE staff randomly inspects a number of ATCW’s each year.
Destruction of protected wildlife without an appropriate authorisation, or breaching the conditions of an ATCW is a serious offence and will most likely result in prosecution. There are penalties of more than $5,000 for illegally destroying protected wildlife and or up to 6 months imprisonment.
Given the lack of DSE Officers, it is reasonable to conclude that ‘random inspections’ are not carried out and there is no available evidence that any of the mentioned penalties have ever been applied.
It is also interesting to note that DSE does not have a central electronic document management system that allows for searches of ATCW’s when a request is made under Freedom of Information. There are only two DSE Officers with knowledge and understanding of the documents whereabouts who are able to assist the FOI unit. It would appear that all documents relating to the issuing of ATCW’s are kept at the regional office where they were issued. This appears to indicate, that in the eyes of DSE, the killing of Victorian wildlife is not important enough to keep centralised records.
Areas where negligence of duty are occurring
• DSE by their own admission do not have enough Officers to undertake all their duties which are outlined in their ‘Fact Sheet 1 – Authority To Control Wildlife’
• There is no system in place to prevent cruelty to animals killed under an ATCW.
• There is no system in place by which counting of ‘pest animals’ can be validated.
• There is no system in place which requires the holder of an ATCW to report and validate the number of animals killed.
• There is no system in place where the firearm competency of the applicant is tested.
• If DSE cannot comply with their own regulations with regard to the issuing of ATCW’s then they should cease issuing them until such time as they can competently oversee, monitor, validate and justify the issuing of these permits.
Parliament of Victoria
Parliament makes laws and holds the Government to account for its policies, actions and spending. Among the functions of the Parliament are;
• Representing the people
• Holding the Government to account for its policies and actions
Under the Victorian Constitution (Parliamentary Reform) Act 2003 Act number 2/2003 Part 2 – Amendment of the Constitution Act 1975
Page 12 – 16A ‘the principal of government mandate’
(b) The Government’s general mandate – to govern for and behalf of the people of Victoria
Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) Overview:
DSE believes they assist in delivering the governments vision to position Victoria as a world leader in sustainability; the department employs 2,700 staff, working in 90 different locations across the state, with annual funding of around $1 billion.
Department of Sustainability and Environment Liability in Negligence Mark Aronson November 2009
According to ‘Public Administration Act 2004
Government activities are usually judged by the ‘ordinary’ law of negligence, and one can often find good reasons for the exceptions. It is submitted, however, that it is never a good reason to deny a duty of care simply because the defendant is the Government, or because it is a statutory authority, or because it has statutory powers or statutory duties.
Perhaps, therefore a better approach would be to stop asking what special rules should apply to Government or even to Governmental actions. It might be better to focus more directly on the judicial role in a negligence case and ask what factors might be considered too difficult for the courts or inappropriate for their resolution according to a negligence standard, regardless of whether the defendant is a Government body or its action a Governmental function...it is difficult to understand what possessed the parliaments to grant Government entities generic permissions to be careless, or careless to a degree not permissible to their private sector analogues.
Ref. Government Liabilities in Negligence – Mark Aronson November 2009 ‘Public Administration Act 2004
7 Public sector values
(ii) providing high quality services to the Victorian community; and
(iii) identifying and promoting best practice;
(v) striving to earn and sustain public trust of a high level;
(ii) provides effective, efficient and integrated service delivery;
(iii) is accountable for its performance.
Public Administration Act 2004 – Section 7
Public sector values
(1) The following are some of the public sector values –
(a) Responsiveness – public officials should demonstrate responsiveness by -
(ii) providing high quality services to the Victorian Community; and
(iii) identifying and promoting best practice;
(b) integrity – public officials should demonstrate integrity by -
(v) striving to earn and sustain public trust at a high level
Failures of the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988
The Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 (the Act) is the primary Victorian legislation providing for conservation of threatened species and ecological communities. Since the Act was passed in 1988, 653 plant and animal species, communities and threatening processes have been listed.
The primary aim of the FFG Act is to guarantee that all taxa of Victoria’s flora and fauna can survive, flourish and retain their potential for evolutionary development in the wild, and to ensure that the genetic diversity of flora and fauna is maintained.
The full range of ‘management processes’ and ‘conservation and control measures’ available in the Act has not been used. Various management processes and conservation and control measures available to conserve and protect flora and fauna are not being used, largely because of their perceived complexity and the difficulty of administering these provisions.
The gap between listed items and items with action statements continues to widen.
The lack of baseline data and outcome or output performance measures means it is not possible to conclude whether the Act has achieved its primary objectives.
The available data, which is patchy, indicates that it has not.
Administration of the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 Recommendations by the Attorney General – 2009
The department should:
-review the internal timeframes it sets for listing, against the resources it applies and the processes it adopts, to confirm they are realistic
The only critical habitat determination made was subsequently revoked at the time of his report; and no interim conservation orders have been issued.
Action statements are the primary tools in the Act being used to protect and conserve threatened flora and fauna. However, the effort directed to listing threatened species and processes has not been matched by effort to develop action statements, to monitor the implementation of actions, or assess their effectiveness.
The Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act requires Action Statements to be completed for each listing. An Action Statement sets out management prescriptions to protect endangered species. An Action Statement must be completed 'as soon as possible' after listing.
-continue to build its knowledge-base on threatened species, causes of their decline and how best to mitigate threats to them; and expedite the transfer of information held on manual files to the ABC system formalise its collaboration on conservation activity with the Federal Government and seek a joint agreement to eliminate duplication in the listing process (Recommendation 4.1).
The department should:
-assess the resources it applies to developing, monitoring and reviewing action statements and establish a prioritised action plan to address the backlog of listed items with no action statements
Proper utilization of the conservation measures available in the present FFG Act would make a real difference to biodiversity conservation in Victoria.
The action statements must set out what has been done to conserve and manage that taxon or community or process and what is intended to be done and may include information on what needs to be done.
The failure to complete Action Statements renders the RFA (Regional Forest Agreement) Reserve System inadequate for the protection of endangered species due to lack of information and management strategies.
The CAR (Comprehensive Adequate Representative) reserve system on paper is meant to protect all biodiversity values in the Otways from logging practices based on best scientific information. However if the impact logging has on other forest values is not done then decreased levels of protection are what occur. 
An analysis by lawyers at the Environment Defenders Office (EDO) found that of 599 threatened plant and animal species listed under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act, only 270 have an action statement to manage their conservation as legally required.
Brendan Sydes, Chief Executive Officer and lawyer at the EDO found that Action Statements have still not been prepared for 374 of the 675 species, communities and processes listed under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act, despite the clear legal obligation to do so. In the past year, only one draft statement has been released. “At this rate, it will take the Government decades to fulfil their obligations,” said Mr Sydes. 
-review the efficacy of conservation and protection tools available under the Act
Imposition of yet another environmental impact assessment option, such as the Environmental Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, through the state significant planning process adds to the confusion and complexity, and should be resisted. In the view of the EDO, the lack of political and Departmental will to fully implement and enforce the FFG Act, combined with a lack of resources provided to DSE for implementation of the Act has resulted in its weak implementation. 
The Native forest timber industry is exempt from complying with legislation which is in place to protect flora species listed in the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988.
The existence of this Order for exemption is an admission that logging practices in State Forest threaten and destroy listed flora in the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988.
East Gippsland is now a refuge for many of Eastern Victoria’s rare and threatened forest species. To be responsible and responsive about reversing the decline in number and populations of threatened species, the zoning system must now strongly favour protection of their remaining habitat.
Under the FFG Act, action statements are required to set out "what has to be done to conserve and manage (a threatened) taxon or community." The action statements contain short-term, interim, objectives and actions as well as longer term objectives and actions to ensure the species return to a secure conservation status. To the extent that re-zoning will result in the longer term actions and objectives of the action statements for the relevant species not being implemented and achieved, the re-zoning could result in a failure to meet legal obligations that arise under the FFG Act.
For the Powerful Owl, the long term objective of the FFG action statement is:
“...to increase population numbers in potentially suitable areas, where owls are now scarce by maintaining and restoring habitat for species across all land tenures to return it to a secure conservation status in the wild.”
Changes to the zoning are inconsistent with the long term objective of this statement. 
The Wildlife Act and the FFG Act should be at least partially amalgamated so that the FFG Act includes prohibitions on taking or destroying all listed flora and fauna.
Victoria’s Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 has objectives to ensure “Victoria’s native flora and fauna can survive, flourish, and retain their potential for evolutionary development”. Now the integrity of this Act is under threat. Perversely DSE’s Code of Practice argues that deliberate burning of bushland and forest habitat will help Victoria’s native flora and fauna to survive, flourish, and retain their potential for evolutionary development. No document exists to zoologically prove that native fauna will suffer such negative consequences if it does not have a bushfire range through its habitat. As a result, the Code of Practice implies that bushfire is ok for all Victorian bushland and forests – DSE conveniently convinces itself that the urgent moral imperative for DSE to suppress bushfires is extinguished. So now it lights more fires than it puts out. The ability for forest fauna to recover is therefore being hampered by further prescribed burning, and recovery is also hampered by reduced fecundity caused by a decade of drought, and for the owls, low prey population densities.’ 
-assess whether the listing process is the most effective and efficient means of protecting species and communities
The Spot-Tailed Quoll is now classified as 'Vulnerable' under the Commonwealth Endangered Species Protection Act 1995, and has recently been reclassified to 'Endangered' under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act. When the Quoll was first listed for protection under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act (nomination 146), logging practices that cause habitat fragmentation were cited as a major threat.
The first Tiger Quoll Action Statement has no prescriptions to protect Quolls from logging practices despite the primary Quoll habitat being within forest available for logging. The failure to recognise the potential for forestry operations in State Forest to create fragmentation is a serious issue.
The deliberate inaction and disregard of the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act by the government, coupled with an assumption that no one would ever have the funds to take them to court, proved to be not enough to protect the historical over-logging operations of the hooligan industry. 
Offences for the protection of fauna – there are no provisions for the protection of listed fauna. Offences in relation to fauna are contained in a separate piece of legislation, namely, the Wildlife Act 1975 (Vic). 
The offences in the FFG Act should apply to all listed species, not just flora and fish. The defence available to owners and lessees of private land should be removed. The FFG Act should also prohibit the harmful alteration, disruption or destruction of habitat of listed species. Or at the very least, the FFG Act should prohibit the destruction of the "residence" of a listed species (e.g. the hollow, nest, or other dwelling place), similar to the new Canadian legislation, the Species At Risk Act 2002.
Currently there are exemptions under the FFG Act for logging, in the form of the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act (Forest Produce Harvesting) Order 1988. These exemptions should be removed. 
Sambar Deer are confusingly listed as 'environmentally threatening' under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act, yet protected as a game species under the Wildlife Act. That makes no sense, and has led to gross inaction on a rapidly escalating problem. 
A number of species listed under Victoria’s Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act (FFG Act) and browsed by Sambar were recognised by Victoria’s Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC 2007) as threatened by Sambar.
The Mountain Ash forests of the Central Highlands are home to several threatened and endangered species, for example, the endangered Leadbeater’s Possum, which is Victoria’s faunal emblem. Endemic to the Yarra tributaries, the population of the Leadbeater’s Possum is currently in decline as a result of inadequate habitat.
T he protective provisions of the FFG Act are excluded where logging is conducted in areas containing flora listed as threatened under the FFG Act. The Flora and Fauna Guarantee (Forest Produce Harvesting) Order 1998 authorises the taking of protected flora from State forests, where such taking is the result of logging. However, a similar exclusion in areas of threatened
Fauna does not exist. Therefore, the protection afforded by the FFG Act remains intact and applies to logging operations conducted in the threatened species habitat in the Yarra tributaries. 
Logging in habitat areas must be listed as a potentially threatening process under The Act.
Logging management must be reviewed in order to develop sustainable rates of logging, if logging is to continue. (ibid)
VicForests won on their contest that they can log FFG recognised habitat for the endangered Leadbeater's Possum - Victoria's faunal emblem. This has meant the survival of the species cannot be 'guaranteed' under the FFG Act. 
The proposed variation to the Code of Practice for Timber Production 2007 will allow the Secretary of the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) to override a Flora and Fauna Guarantee Action Statement (Action Statement) for any given forest coupe. In other words, it empowers the Secretary to clear threatened species habitat that would otherwise have been protected.
This effectively takes the only readily enforceable part of the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 (Vic) (FFG Act) and allows the Secretary to make it unenforceable. 
-develop a suite of output efficiency and outcome effectiveness measures to monitor and assess its conservation efforts (Recommendation 5.1).
The impacts of climate change, fire, weed and feral animals and logging, coupled with changing demographics and community attitudes to forest management, all point to the need for a major, independent assessment and overhaul of current logging arrangements.
(Australian Conservation Foundation - East Gippsland)
DSE has provided no evidence to suggest that any comprehensive surveys have taken place to ensure that the species are being adequately monitored and protected as per legislative requirements in their action statements and the FFG Act.
In June of this year, 10 of the 11 staff who make up the south-west biodiversity team will not have their contracts renewed, with similar cuts expected in other regions of the State. Many species of flora and fauna in south-west Victoria are on the brink of extinction and require urgent proactive management. The government’s dismissal of threatened species officers will ensure that next to nothing is being done to save these species, thus totally ignoring its legal requirements under the Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 and the Federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. 
The implications of this move are alarming. Less DSE officers and staff will further compromise the effectiveness of the enormous and important task of protection biodiversity.
Urban sprawl is eating into natural areas and green wedges, and impacting on some of the most endangered habitats and species in Victoria. A significant population of the Southern Brown Bandicoot (Isoodon obesulus obesulus), a nationally threatened species, still persists in south-eastern Melbourne in the cities of Casey and Cardinia. The Southern Brown Bandicoot is listed as ‘endangered’ under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act 1999. In Victoria, Southern Brown Bandicoots are listed as ‘threatened’ under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act. 
About 5000ha of Victoria's last remaining grassland habitats will be cleared in the growth corridors, approximately 2600ha of grassland will be retained in the urban growth areas and the rest will be offset into two large 15,000ha grassland reserves outside the growth areas.
In a world of finite resources with unchecked economic and population growth, some form of overshoot and collapse is inevitable.
Victoria could bear the brunt of a climate change front that would see almost a third of animal species wiped out in less than 60 years.
By 2070, Victoria could be rendered unrecognisable as the continent heats up and rainfall patterns change, according to a drastic new report by the CSIRO. Victorian animal species already threatened by climate change include the mountain pygmy possum, the helmeted honeyeater, and pink-tailed legless lizard.
One of the report's authors, Dr Michael Dunlop said ecosystems such as the eucalyptus forests to Melbourne's north could disappear and snowfall in Victoria's alpine regions become more sparse, and the Mallee become increasingly thirsty. It's easy to blame climate change as if it were indistinct from human actions, and with loss and degradation of habitats, compromising management of flora and fauna, and loosening policies that protect native animals, will likely cause their demise. 
Of the 91 species of non-marine mammals known to have inhabited Victoria since European settlement, 19 are now extinct in the state, and five of these are now totally extinct. Many other species survive with much diminished populations. For example, the native grassland complexes of lowland Victoria are now among the most endangered ecological communities in Australia, there being less than 2% left of the pre-1750 area of thousands of square kilometres. 
While there is legislation to protect native vegetation, or their offsets, it's assumed that wildlife will adapt to smaller, degraded and diminishing habitats.
State of the Environment 2011 (SoE 2011)
Independent report to the Australian Government Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities
Human population growth is a potential cause of environmental change worldwide, including Australia, even without considering the impact of changes on living standards or resource use per capita. The largest factor influencing population growth over the past decade has been net overseas migration rather than natural increase, although less so than over previous decades. Direct impact are the extension of the urban growth boundary, land clearing for agriculture, feral animals, proposed invasion of green wedges for developments – and also in national parks.
18 species are listed as extinct
The Advisory List of Threatened Vertebrate Fauna lists 41 extant species compared with 34 listed under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988. 
The perception that kangaroos are a renewable resource, coupled with the labelling of these native animals as pests, has resulted in the largest slaughter of land-based wildlife on the planet.
In the past 20 years, 90 million kangaroos and wallabies have been lawfully killed for commercial purposes. Kangaroos are often found with missing limbs or jaws or suffering from gaping wounds due to the difficulty of the shot. The writer concludes:”It is irresponsible to commercialise the hunting of kangaroos, given these serious concerns of contamination and animal cruelty”.
Although kangaroo and wallabies are not considered endangered or threatened, there is a moral dimension of protecting wildlife from profits, and being cruelly plundered. All wildlife should be protected from commercial activities.
( Otway Ranges Environmental Network – West RFA reserve system
(The Age – Threatened species still missing out May 9 2012)
(Report finds Victorian Government ignoring key environmental laws- EDO online http://www.edovic.org.au/media-release/report-finds-victorian-government-ignoring-key-environmental-laws 5 July 2012)
( VCEC Inquiry into Victoria’s Regulatory Framework Issues Paper prepared by
Environment Defenders Office (Victoria) Ltd 24 September 2010)
(Otway Ranges environment Network – The Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act )http://www.oren.org.au/issues/forestmanag/ffgact.htm
(Australian Conservation Foundation Environment East Gippsland - Gippsland Environment Group - The Wilderness Society Victoria - Victorian National Parks Association Submission to East Gippsland Forest Management Zone Amendments September 2010 )
(The Habitat Advocate A HABITAT CONSERVATION WEBSITE ‘State Arson’, ‘State Logging’ wiping out owls
( Environment East Gippsland - Baillieu to protect loggers above threatened species
( REVIEW OF THE FLORA AND FAUNA GUARANTEE ACT 1988 (VIC) Lawyers for Forests Nov 2002)
( Victorian National Parks Association – Feral horses and deer in the Alps)
( LOGGING IN MELBOURNE’S WATER CATCHMENTS: the yarra tributaries: HANNAH NICHOLS Monash University Victorian Parliamentary Internship Report June 2008)
( EDO - EDO Briefing Paper Forestry Code changes endanger threatened species 30 Nov 2011)
( The backwards spiral continues - Baillieu Government axes threatened species officers http://www.iffa.org.au/backwards-spiral-continues-baillieu-government-axes-threatened-species-officersIndigenous Flora and Fauna Association)
 VPNA: Submission guide - threatened species and urban sprawl
 SOE report 2011- http://www.environment.gov.au/soe/2011/report/biodiversity/2-4-plant-and-animal-species.html
Victoria's cull plan bad for health: roos and ours- http://www.smh.com.au/environment/animals/victorias-cull-plan-bad-for-health-roos-and-ours-20120918-263lq.html#ixzz26oBkQDkf
Respectfully Submitted by the Australian Wildlife Protection Council Inc
September 24, 2012
Case of DSE Negligence compiled by Members of the Australian Wildlife Protection Council Inc:
Maryland Wilson - President
Vivienne Ortega - Vice President
Ciewen (Val) Hickey - Research
Rheya Linden - Research
Sheila Newman - Sociological Land Use Planner
PROTEST TODAY (Now!) 11 AM St Kilda Beach, behind Luna Park. See: http://stopthetrawler.net/national-day-of-action-to-stop-the-super-trawler/ So many threats to our oceans, bays and rivers….where to start? One of the most worrisome issues at present is the massive Super trawler Margiris on its way to Tasmania and set to start vacuuming up our mackerel and red bait fish stocks.
The Margiris is part of the heavily subsidized European trawler fleet, and is the subject of recent allegations of overfishing stocks in the South Pacific and off West Africa. The company Seafish Tasmania has proposed a joint venture with the Dutch owners of the vessel and they plan to catch 18,000 tonnes of small bait fish for freezing into 20 kg blocks and exporting to Nigeria for $1/kg for human consumption. Meanwhile, our major supermarkets are offering us Nile perch and various other tasteless species imported from Africa. How crazy is this?
If our government had the guts to say NO, this wouldn’t be happening. Please try to convince Federal Ministers Joe Ludwig (Fisheries) and Tony Burke (Environment) by sending emails as suggested by Save Our Marine Life-The Big Blue Army, at: http://www.saveourmarinelife.org.au For more interesting information see also Super Trawler heading our way http://www.westender.com.au/news/1342
Super Protest today (Saturday 11 Aug 2012)
If you care, please join the Stop the Supertanker protest National Day of Action this Saturday.
In Melbourne, it’s on at 11 AM at St Kilda Beach, behind Luna Park. See: http://stopthetrawler.net/national-day-of-action-to-stop-the-super-trawler/
Meanwhile back in Port Phillip Bay…
Whilst there wasn’t a peep in the mainstream media, Lloyd’s List Shipping News reported that the magnitude 5.5 earthquake that hit Victoria on 19th June triggered an environmental requirement for the Port of Melbourne Corporation to recheck its underwater toxic dump off Mordialloc for possible damage. We’ve heard nothing more since.
When then Federal Environment Minister Garrett gave his final approval for the Channel Deepening Project, the PoMC’s Environment Management Plan proposed annual visual checks of the dump site- and presumably a requirement for checks after unusual events such as an earthquake.
What is sadly missing from the EMP is any obligation to regularly test the water quality on and near the dumpsite for possible leaching of pollutants and toxicants from the +3 million tonnes of contaminated and toxic sludge PoMC dumped there from its Yarra dredging extravaganza.
Meanwhile back in Westernport…..
Local Liberal MP Neale Burgess is promising depressed local businesses that 4000 ongoing jobs would be created for the Hastings area from the State government’s pumped up proposals for the Port of Hastings. See: http://www.peninsulaweekly.com.au/news/local/news/general/hastings-port-a-goer-say-libs/2611198.aspx
That’s amazing, because we have learned that container operations at the Port of Brisbane are run remotely from Sydney, with container movement being entirely done by robotics. Apparently, global technology company Cargotec has acquired advanced software as well as 23 highly-skilled workers for the automation of straddle carriers from Asciano (parent company of Patricks who are also the operators of Port of Hastings). …….So what are the other 3977 workers that Hastings has been promised going to be doing??
Add to this Minister Napthine’s idea of driverless trucks trundling up and down to and from the Port of Hastings and it makes you wonder then what the supposed 4000 jobs in the Port of Hastings will entail. Poor old Hastings shop keepers hanging out for more business might be in for a shock.
Check out this link to the ABC TV Big Ideas program which talks about robotics in port operations. http://www.abc.net.au/tv/bigideas/stories/2012/06/25/3530523.htm
Blue Wedges Editor
See also: Super Trawler protest photos of 12 August.
Save the tiger and save man's self-respect. I mean, if we can't save the tiger we aren't much good for anything are we? Cronulla Beach to Barrenjoey Lighthouse Tiger Trek starts Saturday 10th March. The Trekking Tiger is a man in a tiger mask - his identity is unimportant. His main purpose is to draw attention to this vital campaign which recognizes the tiger, a flagship species in the biodiversity crisis. The trekker will be barefoot or wearing thongs in sympathy with the poverty that accompanies human populations that encroach on tiger territory.
Early on Saturday 10 March 2012 The Trekking Tiger (also known as T3) will leave Cronulla Beach on the coastal south of Sydney, Australia on a trek of close to 90 kilometres finishing at the Barrenjoey Lighthouse, the coastal northern tip of the city.
The trek will be attempted in one long push (with some possible beach power naps!) to draw attention to the BAN TIGER TRADE petition which is part of the global TigerTime campaign run by the UK based David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation.
“TigerTime, the global campaign from the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation is currently gaining thousands of signatures on its petition to put an end to the tiger trade www.bantigertrade.com. 100,000 signatures are needed for the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in United Kingdom to accept it on the 13th March. Please help us by signing the petition and spreading the word. For more information, please see our website #10;<h3>About The Trekking Tiger (T3): </h3> <p>The Trekking Tiger is a man in a tiger mask - his identity is unimportant. His main purpose is to draw attention to this vital campaign which recognizes the tiger, a flagship species in the biodiversity crisis. The Trekking Tiger is also known as T3, a reference to the three extinct sub-species of tiger; the Caspian Tiger, the Java Tiger and the Bali Tiger.</p> <p>T3 is an experienced mountain and jungle endurance trekker. And this challenge will hurt! The T3 concept has been brought forward several months (there will be another trek announcement soon) to link in the petition to be presented to the Chinese Embassy in London in March to ban the tiger trade. Despite the reduced preparation time, T3 will undergo the trek in bare feet on beach sections and thongs (flip flops) on rock and road sections. This is in dedication to the porters of Nepal and other Himalayan areas where very basic footwear is often used while carrying huge loads. This is a poverty driven situation and poverty is a big factor in people turning to poaching, threatening the tiger and much other wildlife. </p> <p>With this in mind T3 requests that so as not to dilute the purpose of the trek, the emphasis in any media contact remains on the campaign and not on the man behind the mask.<br /> <img src=" vspace="3" hspace="3" align="left">
T3 is an entity of WildTiger. More information can be found at www.wildtiger.org and www.facebook.com/TheTrekkingTiger
Contact: [email protected]
See www.tigertime.info for full details of the campaign.
The Premier of China, Wen Jiabao has publicly stated that he is committed to saving the wild tiger. However, his government is allowing trade in tiger skins from tiger farms and skins taken before poaching was outlawed. This trade is acting as a smokescreen for skins taken by killing wild tigers. If China does not stop this trade, the wild tiger is doomed. See how they obtain the tigers and more tiger farm images. You can add your signature here.
Does Wen Jiabao have the balls to stand up for the last tigers? We sure hope so and support him in his endeavours.
Tigers are currently starved to death on 'tiger farms' in China because, if a tiger dies of 'natural causes', the taking of its body parts is legal.
Half way through last century, when I was born, tigers were already known to be in danger of extinction. The predictions of that time have been steadily confirmed. There are currently (2012) estimated to be only 3,200 tigers left in the wild.
If you want to read about people who are kind to tigers, there is also some good news about tigers from Panna, a protected area, but poachers still manage to kill the tigers there. See "Great News from Panna."
The Tiger by William Blake
Tiger Tiger. burning bright,
In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye.
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
In what distant deeps or skies.
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand, dare seize the fire?
And what shoulder, & what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat.
What dread hand? & what dread feet?
What the hammer? what the chain,
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp.
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?
When the stars threw down their spears
And watered heaven with their tears:
Did he smile His work to see?
Did he who made the lamb make thee?
Tiger Tiger burning bright,
In the forests of the night:
What immortal hand or eye,
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?
On the northern coast of N.S.W. adjoining the Gold Coast and S.E.Queensland lies Tweed Shire, christened as the Green Caldera by once Environment Minister Peter Garrett. This area is famous for one of the highest biodiversity levels in Australia and infamous for the greatest level of biodiversity loss in N.S.W. thanks to the fact that the vast majority of Tweed councillors are pro-development. But in the case of Kings Forest, a massive housing development for 15,000 people worth $2 billion, NSW State Planning took control under the massively unpopular Part 3a legislation, depriving the council of all controls.
If this development is approved, it will be goodbye koalas on Tweed coast within 5-10 years. HAVE YOUR SAY!!
Kings Forest development plan includes 4500 housing lots, a golf course, two primary schools, and shopping facilities, and will occupy a large area between Kingscliff and Cabarita with a single entrance along Tweed Coast Road.
The social impacts of this development are huge. Just what will life look like with another 15,000 or so people driving around, looking for parking, jobs, needing infrastructure like hospitals, schools, libraries? Who will pay for the infrastructure - ratepayers?
While it is commonly believed by local businessmen that this will be good for business, the truth is that an increase in population may not automatically create employment, because most of the jobs created will be short term construction jobs and at the same time there will be an increase in job seekers.
(photo: Cudgen Nature Reserve)
There are many environmental impacts of this development, especially the risk to the remaining population of 144 Tweed Coast koalas, placing the population at high risk of localised extinction. Also at risk are 21 Threatened Species of fauna including the Wallum Froglet, Wallum Sedge frog, Grass Owl, Bush Stone Curlew and Long-Nosed Potoroo, 6 species of flora and 3 endangered ecological communities.
Many changes will be needed to protect adjacent Cudgen Nature Reserve and State Significant Cudgen Lake, which could well be at risk. The developer should dedicate land to the Nature Reserve ahead of the development so that the flora and fauna can be protected from the bulk earthworks. Bulk earthworks will move 1 million cubic meters to flatten out the site for housing. The development application has not indicated when the land will become reserve, it may happen after it has already been seriously disturbed. Fencing of the nature reserve should also happen ahead of the development to protect fauna that try to move through the development. The fencing should be of a different specification to what is proposed by the developer - it needs to be floppy top cyclone fencing, or the koalas will climb over it.
Friends of the Cudgen Nature Reserve is concerned about the water course to Cudgen Lake, and also the drainage pattern which appears to using Blacks Creek as the major channel to drain KF which then goes through the nature reserve. Unless certain extra measures aren’t taken, this development will threaten the viability of the nature reserve, a jewel in the Tweed Coast.
In addition to Section 94 contributions, there should be an environmental maintenance fund established by the developer because a lot of the environmental measures they propose have no monitoring, feedback or evaluation. It's not realistic to assume people are going to move in with their dogs and just obey a few signs.
Kings Forest has confusion and conflicting development application information. It has almost no Ecologically Sustainable Development 'footprints' concerning the future wellbeing of the people who currently live and work on the Tweed Coast. The demonstrated community consultation and awareness about this development is completely lacking. The owner and developer of Kings Forest is not even a Tweed Shire resident, who has cleared and mismanaged valuable ecological wetland areas, native wildlife habitats and altered catchment profiles of Tweed coastal land. There has been no invitation to qualified individuals with excellent local knowledge who could help the developer and workers on the property manage it in a sensible ecologically sustainable framework.
There should at least be a moratorium placed on this development by the NSW and Federal governments until issues of past rezoning processes, past and current land and water management issues and illegal clearing of valuable ecological habitat are resolved. It is up to the NSW State and Federal governments to actively pursue these questionable issues.
Many in the community are voicing an urgent need for remedy to the current mismanagement of this development and to the development's processes which needs to be addressed before further works continue on the site. The habitat and ecological damage that has already occurred could take decades to repair, some may never be repaired, if the development goes ahead as per current planning documents. Nor does there appear to be any documented environmental benchmarks attached to the past and current development process by which environmental accountability can be assessed.
The cost of this urgent remedy should be borne by the developer, not Tweed shire community. The valuable community environmental volunteers who have been serving the Tweed coast for many years appear to have been very poorly treated by the regime that is Kings Forest Part 3a development.
On 11th December, approximately 70 protesters assembled peacefully to protest against Kings Forest. The developer had their own rent-a-crowd comprised of employees (most of whom had Queensland number plates) and their kids, all holding virtually identical (mostly professionally printed) placards saying 'WE WANT JOBS, WE WANT HOSPITALS, WE WANT A FUTURE'. Some protesters overheard Leda's manager Reg van Rij say to one of them "You are not supposed to know me." The rent-a-crowd protesting our protest began by rudely placing their signs over ours. Apart from this flagrantly defiant act, and a few wheelies near our information tent, there was no trouble. Some conversation between their head protester and us revealed that they honestly believed that all the threatened species should be just moved out and put in a sanctuary somewhere. When one of our protesters commented that there had been illegal clearing at Blacks' Creek, they all looked sheepishly to the ground and said nothing. See http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=nvbCBw06OrM
(photo: Protest at entrance to Kings Forest site)
The deadline for submissions on Kings Forest development Stage 1, bulk earthworks, Koala Plan of Management and first lot of subdivisions is January 25th. Your comment can be emailed to [email protected]
For suggestions in making a submission, however short,
and for more information on Kings Forest, go to http://bluecray.org
or view the project application at majorprojects.planning.nsw.gov.au/index.pl?action=view_job&job_id=2642
POEM by Mark Comport
Our home, the valley of contrasts, the beautiful Tweed
We all take a piece of her while she silently bleeds
She bleeds overdevelopment, loss of habitat, erosion, roadkill
We’re taking too much, we’re making her ill
To move more of us in, more of her has to go
Mother nature is dying … dying slow
We argue over who was here first or who could care for her best
While we are, she’s being raped and robbed – we’ll fight for what’s left.
As of 24 January, Tweed Shire councillors recommend that Dept of Planning allow dogs at Kings Forest.
I am not, by nature, a conspiracy theorist. As Carl Sagan said, extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. But when people of my ilk consistently see our interviews, op-eds, and lecture invitations abruptly cancelled with feeble excuses given---if given at all---then random events suddenly take on a pattern. If we examine it, I think only one conclusion emerges as most plausible. We have been witnessing a slow strangulation of debate about overpopuation. It represents a mass die-off of open discussion of arguably the most important topic of our time by those upon whom our society most depends. Our scientists.
An Excuse That Just Doesn't Add Up
CAPS (Californians for Population Stabilization) was to have a booth set up at the Vancouver Convention Centre for the science fair held by the American Association for the Advancement of Science this winter. But guess what. After making the arrangements and paying a fee of $2500, CAPS was told that the deal was off. They could not have a booth at the fair after all. Why? It seems that somebody got to them. Of course, alternative explanations can be entertained. AAAS explained that it is “a non-profit, non-partisan, scientific association, and unfortunately, CAPS does not align with AAAS”. Funny how they took the rent and then made the discovery that CAPS didn’t have as legitimate a right to have a booth as did other organizations less focused on education. In response to further inquiry, they added that “We do not provide booth space to organizations with as direct a political and lobbying intent as CAPS on issues that go beyond the interests of our multidisciplinary membership and meeting audience.” Keep in mind, this is the same AAAS whose journal “Science” published Dr. Garrett Hardin’s “Tragedy of the Commons”, an article that attracted more reprint requests than any other paper Science had ever published. Ironically, Dr. Hardin was a founder of CAPS, which AAAS now wants to exclude from its upcoming Vancouver conference.
Once upon a time overpopulation was considered a legitimate subject for scientific research
How times have changed. In 1976, Canada’s then most prestigious and august scientific body, the Science Council of Canada, issued a report (Number 25) that concluded that the country faced a future of severe resource constraints, and that it would be prudent for us to slow the population rate down so as not to exceed 30 million people by century’s end. “Only by keeping population growth low, while at the same time implementing conservation measures on all fronts....”, would it be possible to meet future energy demands. And if we did that, they predicted, our population would “stabilize within a generation”. (p. 10, SC Report #25) They added that “annual net immigration of about 50,000 per annum would achieve that growth.” (p. 61) Net immigration is now more than six times that number and according to the 2007 census Canada had the fastest growing population in the G8 group, with all major parties wanting to increase the pace! By the beginning of this year, Canada stood at more than 34 million people---and still growing, as resource shortages loom. No one can say that, as far back as 1976, our top scientists did not try to warn us about the consequences. And the warnings continued.
In May of 1991 scientists in the “Intelligence Advisory Committee” submitted a report to the Privy Council of Canada that emphasized that “Controlling population growth is crucial to addressing most environmental problems, including global warming.” Six years later, a team of 63 scientists, academics and graduate students led by Dr. Michael Healey of UBC completed a $2.4 million federally-commissioned study of the Fraser Eco-Basin that argued for the development of a Population Plan for the country, as it was apparent that many other farming regions outside Canada’s major urban centres would suffer the same ecological damage that Greater Vancouver’s burgeoning population had inflicted upon the region. Their verdict was that “...population is central to the problem of sustainability. The government cannot pursue sustainability and at the same time ignore population...The federal government should adopt a population policy for Canada that is consistent with the principles of sustainability (of which) immigration is one facet.” (Executive Summary, Prospects for Sustainability, p.6)
In all three cases then, scientists had identified rampant human population growth as very much a legitimate subject of scientific research and felt compelled to recommend curbs to that growth. Their reports obviously evidenced “lobbying intent”. But now, in 2011, the zeitgeist has shifted to the point that apparently “science” must stand by in silent witness to a mugging of nature, and pretend that this “non-involvement” is something other than what is it---collusion by default. Scientists have become “silent partners in crime”. Surely Dr. Stuart Hurlbert of SDSU was correct. “Suppression of fact and opinion highly relevant to a topic under discussion (eg. Sustainability, population growth , effects of immigration controls) is one of the strongest, most devious , and most irresponsible forms of advocacy possible.” It seems that the editorial gatekeepers of scientific debate are even more reluctant to debate population issues than are politicians. As Professor Fred Meyerson of URI once remarked, “If we were discussing the population and growth and migration of any other species, no one would shy away from it.”
I smell a rat
Here is my suspicion. I smell the odour of two smear organizations in this incident. The Southern Poverty Law Centre (SPLC) and the Center for New Community (CNC), who have made a habit of vetting upcoming events and notifying the hosts that some of the invited guests are "un-American". No doubt, the AAAS have been told that CAPs is "anti-immigrant" and "racist". This is what has been happening all over the continent the past few years, and with increasing frequency. Here goes the pattern. Someone in our movement is invited to a convention, or to an interview or to submit an op-ed piece, and suddenly, it is cancelled---with no reason given. It seems that nearly everyone in my circle has had an experience like that---including me. It is like really hitting it off with someone and then, inexplicably, finding her cold upon meeting her the second time. Or being engaged and being inexplicably left at the altar. If it happens once, or even twice, you can find reasons to dismiss it. But when it becomes the norm, you know the fix is in.
Environmentalist Frosty Wooldridge had an interview slated for the Thom Hartmann show on NPR. Then suddenly it was cancelled. Environmentalist Leah Durant had an interview scheduled on the Lou Dobbs Show, and suddenly it was cancelled. She had a regular column on Huffington Post, and then it too was suddenly cancelled. No explanation given. But guess who took her place? Carl Pope, the former Executive Director of the Sierra Club, the man who called in the SPLC to a launch a smear campaign against Sierrans who attempted to restore its policy of immigration reduction to the policy books. It seems that all media is been sanitized and cleansed of those elements who would challenge the orthodoxy of "progressive growthism", a perverse hybrid of left-wing social policy and right-wing economics.
Now I have learned that Madeline Weld, president of the Population Institute of Canada, was invited in late September, 2011, to speak at an event that the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) was organizing for October 31, to mark the occasion of the world population reaching 7 billion. The event was to last 3 hours and include a roundtable discussion. But, on October 13, Ms. Weld was advised by CIDA that the entire event had been cancelled due to "unforeseeable circumstances." I have an idea what those unforeseeable circumstances might have been. I suspect that the person who invited Ms. Weld had no idea who she was. But others at CIDA did--and when they saw (too late) who had been invited to speak at the 7 billion event, they were no doubt horrified. Ms. Weld has challenged the neglect of family planning by CIDA and their flawed development model which ignores population. The powers that be figured it was best to cancel the event.
The Tentacles of the Smear Network Have A Continental Reach
There are Canadian groups plugged into the SPLC "Hatewatch" network too. The SPLC sends out frequent bulletins advising supporters where 'racists' are about to speak. No sooner was the first press conference for the fledging "Canadians for Immigration Policy Reform" convened when it was under attack in a Eco-Marxist online magazine for its 'racist' agenda. If you think this is paranoia then perform a test. Set up a phoney lecture date by someone on the SPLC hate-list and schedule it at a local college or auditorium. Advertise it widely and then wait for the rent-a-crowd rag-bag protesters to show up with placards and blow horns to shout the phantom lecturer down. Make it a cold winter night so we can greet them with fire hoses.
The New McCarthyism
We talk about the Sixth Extinction, the fact that we are in the midst of human-caused species loss on a massive scale. But what we don't seem to fathom is that we are also witnessing the Seventh Extinction event---- a wave of Neo-McCarthyism that is sweeping over the land and causing a mass die-off of discussion about the consequences of runaway immigration-driven population growth in North America. People are being silenced, excluded and dropped. They are losing their columns, their radio shows and their foundation money. And the people who are doing it to them are the same kind of people who wrung their hands when told about how badly treated "the Hollywood Ten" were, or how 'un-American' the House on Un-American Activities was in the 50s. And the Civil Liberties Union has nothing to say about it. Hypocrites.
It's time to call off our unrequited love affair with the soft green-left
What can we do about it? For starters we can refuse support or cooperation with any who work with the smear network. Stop working with Avaaz.org or Commondreams.org. Stop supporting green NGOs and left wing think tanks that repeat their lies and exclude our voice. Stop pretending that environmentalists, feminists and ‘progressives’ are friends who have lost their way, friends who share our goals but don’t yet understand our perspectives. These people are our enemies. They aim to destroy us. All of them. The McKibbens, the Monbiots, the Brunes, the Hartmans. THEY are the sectarians, not us. They are the ones who deserted the IPAT equation, not us. We have tried to work with them but they will not work with us. In fact, they work very hard behind the scenes against us---using their friends at Hampshire College, the SPLC, the CNC and the other smear merchants as their hit men. Their objective is not ours. They are not authentic environmentalists. They want to manage the environment to accommodate endless population growth, but we want to end population growth to accommodate the environment. There can be no fellowship between us. We must end our unrequited love for this so-called environmental 'justice' coalition.
Wake up. This is war.
October 19, 2011
(note published first at www.balance.org 11/11/11)
Victorian government plans to drop 1080 poison bait from an aircraft into forests could result in the extinction of the already critically endangered Spot-tailed quoll. The purpose of this antiquated and vandalistic method is to poison wild dogs.
Article by Hans Brunner, Wildlife ecologist and biologist
Why is the Victorian Government using old, dangerous methods?
The Victorian government plans to drop 1080 poison bait from an aircraft into forests which could result in the extinction of the already critically endangered Spot-tail quoll. The purpose of this hazardous, antiquated and vandalistic method is to poison wild dogs. This is like re-introducing the use of DDT. It is now a double disaster: all Ted Baillieu has to do now is to aerial bait to kill wild dogs in order to protect the cattle he allowed to go back into the mountains.! An estimated success rate for aerial poisoning of wild dogs is one tonne of poison bait per one dog! Spot-tailed quolls and other Dasyurids are meat eaters as well as some species of possums, reptiles, bandicoots, bush rats and birds. It was estimated that 90% of baits were either not eaten or taken by other animals. Raptor and scavenger birds may collect poison bait and take them to feed their young. McIlroy (CSIRO) reported that in one campaign birds took over 40% of the bait. These other animals would all be at serious risk of being poisoned. Further more, most of this bait would be wasted because of the dogs not being able to find them and this is where non-target animals will rather find and eat them. Baits have therefore to be placed only in places which dogs frequently use, along forest tracks.
More effective method known
There is a well researched and efficient method for the poisoning of wild dogs and foxes. It is a target specific bait station system which is successfully used throughout Victoria. Bait stations are placed along forest tracks where activities of dogs are observed.
A bait station consists of a mound of soil about 20 cm high and one meter in diameter. An un poisoned bait (free feed) is buried in the center of the mound about 10cm deep with some SFE lure placed on top. When the bait has been dug up and eaten, a check is made, with some experience, to assess whether a dog or fox took the bait. If satisfied that a target species took the bait it can be replaced with a poison bait. If it appears that a quoll or an other non-target animal may have taken the free feed bait, continue free feeding that station to keep the quoll and others away from a poison station (about 2 km away) or eliminate that station.
This is the only responsible way to poison dogs and foxes. Even better, it will be of great benefit to not only the quolls by removing the competition by dogs and foxes of their natural prey species, but also for the survival of Kangaroos, wallabies, bandicoots, possums, echidnas etc.
Biologist's experience of alternatives
I have researched and tested this system in 700 square km of forest between Gembrook and Neerim and found it most effective and efficient. I have also introduced it in NSW National Parks where it was recognized as “The dog baiting stations proposed by Hans are the best practical suggestion to date. With the implementation of the bait stations, properly maintained and serviced at the appropriate times, there would appear to be NO reason to allow the continued use of aerial baiting” and, “Poisoning using the buried bait technique is still proving extremely target specific, with dogs and foxes being the only species killed”.
Do it the right way and wildlife return
Barbara Triggs, an eminent naturalist stated after poisoning wild dogs and foxes and using the bait station system on her property in Croajingolong Nat. Park:
“At no time has there been any evidence that a bait has been taken by a non-target animal. In the past year the numbers of native animals seen on the property have increased startlingly. The Red-necked Wallabies, who’s group was here in low numbers, have increased markedly from five individuals to now at least fourteen. The most surprising increase has been in the population of Long-nosed Bandicoots. The Dusky Antechinus, Swamp Rats, Water Rats, Sugar Gliders and several species of ground-nesting birds and also species of owls are much more in evidence than ever before."
With all this evidence, this non specific and irresponsible aerial baiting must be immediately stopped.
Something very shonky is going on in Canberra with unjustified massacre of kangaroos. As the previous blog mentioned, no science to back it up.
Learn some more facts and take action! We can only stop this if lots of people take action!
Two years ago the Canberra Environment and Sustainability Resource Centre wrote a compelling document explaining how kangaroos help the environment in so many ways. It was written at a time when another big cull was being decided so of course Maxine Cooper, the Commissioner for the Environment, ‘culled’ the document and demanded return of funds paid to CESRC, and the document can now only be found online at http://www.nokangaroomeat.org
And here we go again! It’s that time of the year boys and girls, when the shooters get out their guns and have a shooting spree till the end of June and wipe out thousands of beautiful, healthy, environmentally friendly, gentle kangaroos and their babies, the national icon we are all so proud of that we put its image on our aeroplanes, on logos ‘Proudly Australian Made’ and title our best rugby teams. (See http://candobetter.net/node/2063 )
Science or Fun?
Yet we also ‘humanely’ (of course) shoot the females, bash the offspring to death or chop off its still living head or leave the at-foot joeys orphaned to die alone, cold, hungry and afraid without their mother’s love and protection. And why? So we can feed to our dogs naturally. Also for fun.
death or left to starve, broken hearted
In this case, it’s just for fun. Why? Because there is no science to back up these ‘culls’.
Daniel EIglesias from ACT Parks and Conservation talks about a kangaroo population ‘explosion’ within Canberra’s Nature Reserves. He says up to 3,427 kangaroos will be shot.
He says that ACT Parks has calculated the numbers by ‘sitting back and thinking how many kangaroos can these areas sustainably manage so we can have a healthy population of kangaroos, but also healthy populations of other animals.’
How incredibly scientific of them. I think nature has a way of balancing out populations very nicely, thank you Mr Iglesias, without man’s interference. In fact, every time man interferes, he ‘stuffs up’. Ever wonder why Australia has the worst reputation in the world for mammal extinctions sir? It’s because of government departments like yours, sitting comfortably back and playing God, rearranging the pawns in the game of Wildlife versus Man.
He goes on without giving any evidence so far of actual kangaroo numbers in the parks or any evidence of certain species being ‘threatened’ by kangaroos. He’d be hard pressed to come up with any proof like that, considering that kangaroos have been living in harmony with other species for up to 16 million years.
In fact, according to that report by the Canberra Environment and Sustainabillity Resource Centre, kangaroos help many species to survive, quite the reverse.
After that he expresses concern that grasslands and woodlands could be overgrazed by kangaroos, again with no evidence that it is happening, or in fact, has ever happened. There is no evidence, anywhere, of that. It’s all just a big myth.
And then he maligns our poor kangaroo for ‘soil loss’. Our soft-padded native kangaroo, creates soil loss. What about introduced feral livestock with hard hooves, wouldn’t they cause soil loss? Indeed, but they are off ACT Parks’ radar.
Parks assures us that while the cull is higher this year than last not to worry because it isn’t too many compared to the general kangaroo population. Is Iglesias comparing the numbers of kangaroos to be killed in Canberra’s Nature Reserves to the total numbers there or is he comparing numbers to be killed to the total kangaroo population of Australia?
No matter how good a year they have had, what with rainfall etc, each kangaroo can only give birth to one per year and of those born there is an 80% attrition rate, meaning only 20% survive. So it’s not like their population can double in 12 months. Besides the new kangaroos are still only joeys, 12 months old and dependent on their mothers. That means this year’s ‘cull’ will be primarily the killing of joeys since the ones not killed the previous year who are approaching 2 years of age are still not adults and only just independent of their mothers.
How sad and shameful. Read the media release at:-
Express your outrage
Hard questions need to be asked. For example:-
1. Has there been an official count of kangaroo populations on the six reserves where the killing is to take place?
2. Where is the proof and how did they arrive at the numbers?
3. Since the quota is 75% of the total estimated populations (3,427 out of 4,482), and since last year was a drought, where is the precautionary principle in action?
4. What if there is a drought next year (or any other disaster or epidemic disease which kangaroos suffer from) and you wiped out 75% last year, how can that be regarded as sustainable especially when the commercial quota is only 15-20%?
4A. Did you forget about the high to extreme risk or even certainty of a cascading of extinctions of various endangered species (insects, lizards etc.) if all kangas were removed altogether? Kangaroos are considered a keystone species in the ecosystem, that all other species relied upon for reasons relating to kangaroo dung. This means that if Parks "overshoot" with their killing total estimates and end up leaving no kangaroos in a particular area, that is likely to have a devastating impact on the species reliant upon the kangas' presence, including the endangered ones.
5. While kangaroos have lost their natural predator, the dingo, they now have a much more formidable predator i.e. humans (via habitat loss, feral dogs, foxes, barbed wire fences, cars, farmers with guns, hoons) and that is not even counting bushfires and drought. Why is Parks not factoring this in?
6. If there is no overgrazing by kangaroos and overgrazing causes loss of habitat and soil, why the concern for endangered species now or into the future? Don Fletcher's thesis clearly shows that there is no relationship between kangaroos and overgrazing, so kangaroos endangering species is a myth.
7. Why isn't Parks ACT introducing fertility controls (such as at Belconnen in 2008) or relocation.
8. Why aren't there wildlife corridors to help kangaroos move on should there be no more food for them in the future? If they could move out, there would never be a need for killing or relocating them.
9. What is the cost (yes the public is entitled to know) of shooting 3,500 kangaroos?
10. Will you be killing the in-pouch joeys or throwing them live into the pits with their dead mothers?
11. Will orphaned and bashed joeys be included in the death count?
12. Has there been any factoring in for kangaroos who will die from stress myopathy in coming weeks as a result of watching their families get murdered and fleeing in terror?
13. Would Parks ACT be willing to consider an urgent quote for relocation of the 'surplus' kangaroos?
14. Are livestock allowed to graze on Parks and Lands properties? If so, wouldn't that be more of a concern with regard to soil loss and overgrazing?
15. Has Parks ACT given any consideration to the effect of their 'culls' on wildlife-loving Australians, many of whom are right now unable to sleep or eat, suffering from depression and anger because of this 'cull'? What else would drive them to leave the comfort of their homes at night in sub-zero temperatures to go to the Nature Reserves and try to intervene, risking not only their health but also their lives (in case they are shot) and potentially their police records and finances (in case they are charged and fined)?
Contact the following:-
* [email protected] (Office of the Commissioner for Sustainability + Environment)
* [email protected] (Project Co-ordinator, Mulligans Flat Woodland Sanctuary)
* [email protected] (Chair – Steering Committee, Conservation Parks + Lands)
* [email protected] (Member of Parks and Lands)
* [email protected] (Member of Parks and Lands)
* [email protected] (Member of Parks and Lands) (02) 62 071-911
* [email protected] (Dr Tony Peacock, CRC for Biological Control of Pest Animals) 02 62 725 525
* [email protected] (Dr David Shorthouse, Member Parks ACT, Visiting Fellow ANU - 02 61-250 663)
* [email protected] (Dr Penny Olsen, ACT Flora and Fauna Committee Representative 02 61 252-536)
* [email protected] (Dr Adrian Manning, ANU, member Parks ACT 02 61 255-415)
* [email protected] (ACT Minister for the Environment, Simon Corbell MLA)
* [email protected] (ACT Chief Minister – Katy Gallagher)
http://www.pm.gov.au/contact-your-pm (PM Julia Gillard)
* [email protected] (Federal Minister for Environment, Tony Burke)
* [email protected] (RSPCA endorses all ACT culls)
Or better still, go to Canberra and be present to watch and document the sordid massacre of our country’s national icon and their babies. That is one thing the killers hate, to be watched doing their dirty deeds. You might even be called to a protest. I hope there will be a huge one in Canberra one day, the sooner the better, with thousands of people rallying against the largest slaughter of land-based wildlife on the planet - i.e. kangaroos.
Please vote for the kangaroos. You can use up to 10 votes per issue. At present kangaroos are at #79 so we need more votes. Please get the word out to your friends. Thanks.
Luna the Orangutan was rescued last spring and brought to the Sintang Orangutan Center, which is managed by Orangutan Outreach. Luna & her friends at Sintang need support. You can adopt Luna for $10 a month! Go to http://redapes.org/adopt
There will be an Orangutan Awareness Day event at Belmore Park, Sydney, on Sunday November 13th from 12.00pm - 3.00pm. As well as speakers and information tables, there will be the usual fairground attractions with cake stalls, merchandise stalls, face painting, and posters.
The causes of orangatan orphans and the species' threatened extinction are economic growthism, population growthism, overdevelopment and destruction of forest for broad-acre cropping, which also destroys the lives of humans who live there still. The answer is to out the growthists in your community and to make growthism known for the obscenity it is.
Into Oblivion Report
See full article at:-
Very sad that all of these species that have evolved over millions of years surviving bush fires, ice ages, rising sea levels and hunters and in a few short decades will be gone forever. In the Kimberleys there isn't even the threat of development and roads as we have around the coastal areas.
The report quotes the researcher John Woinarsky as saying ''Twenty years ago we would go out and it would be a bonanza of native animals. Now we hardly catch anything - it's silent.''
What are Governments Doing about This Situation?
Governments are well aware that we have the world's worst record for species extinction and 2010 is the Year of Biodiversity yet what is changing? Not a lot.
On the 4th September 2010 I attended a lecture by Shane Ruming of Dept. Environment, Climate Change and Water in the Tweed Shire council building. He presented an impressive slide show outlining the Biodiversity Management Plan for the Border Ranges and Northern Rivers. The purpose of this plan is to conserve the rainforest and its species (see http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/recovery/border-ranges/ ) The emphasis was on removing invasive weeds to help the native species survive. But will they? DECCW did not address roadkill reduction methods nor the need to curtail domesticated cats and dogs from roaming. For that you have to go to another Plan.
Tweed Council is not doing enough to address roadkill or cats and dogs that are abandoned and left to fend for themselves in the bush. A friend of mine reported 30-40 cats abandoned on a property yet council refused to act. Another neighbour of hers is breeding dingoes with German Shepherds and letting them run in the bush and council again refuses to do anything about this individual.
In an attempt to control the devastating impact on native animals by feral dogs, council is laying 1080 baits on council land and landholders are delivered 1080 baits free on request. Is 1080 good for the environment? Hardly. This poison is banned in almost every country of the world except Australia and New Zealand and virtually outlawed in the US since 1972, 1080 should be outlawed in Australia, not only for its cruelty but also because we simply do not know what might be the long term effects of continually pouring substantial amounts of this poison into the environment.
Nor is it a humane death for the animals unfortunate enough to consume it (lace monitors, bandicoots, birds). In fact it is extremely inhumane with animals taking many days to die painfully (see http://www.wlpa.org/1080_poison.htm )
Then there is the question of trail bikes - in spite of numerous complaints some of the audience noted that no fines were given to neighbours driving these environmentally destructive and stress-inducing vehicles.
DECCW was generous enough to have a stack of free books each with a CD in the back. The acknowledgement page credits hundreds of people for contributing to the plan so it must have cost quite a bit of money to produce.
The detail and complexity of analysis in this plan backed by many pages of references was impressive and staggering to any layman.
However, being a simpleton I decided to raise my hand and ask one question:
'I appreciate you have actions that you are taking, but can you explain in practical terms exactly WHAT is DECCW doing to implement this Plan?
After more mumbo jumbo skirting around the issue and generally evading what I thought was a clear question, he asked me if that answered my question to which I replied with an utterly puzzled and shocked expression on my face while shaking my head. At that point the whole room burst into hands waving in the air with more questions in a similar vein. Within minutes the speaker realised he was way out of his depth and utterly lost. Perhaps he was not warned that the local residents in this, the most biodiverse parts of NSW if not Australia, were extremely passionate about protecting their environment and frustrated at the lack of local council and government support.
Just last year we barely survived a World Championship Rally tearing through our National Parks, World Heritage areas where endangered species and vulnerable koalas were trying to breed in peace.
And earlier this year the boxing gloves were out once again to try and stop our local council putting a dam in Byrrill Creek where 45 threatened and endangered species' homes would be destroyed. We are still waiting for the decision on this one.
Another battle we have been fighting is trying to stop a major development on the coast providing homes for 80,000 people in the largest remaining koala colony in Tweed Shire. This proposed development has no provision for overpasses, underpasses or exclusion fences on the proposed six-lane freeways to protect any koalas trying to connect to other areas of their territory. It would permit residents to own dogs and plans to build a golf course in the area where the koalas are supposed to live (as if carcinogenic, neurotoxic sprays on the grass are going to help them survive much longer).
In the last year we have seen four historic trees all over 100 years old felled by council, some of them healthy trees, some of them damaged by council workers. Recently a 116 fig tree at Chinderah Tavern has become the subject of another potential tree felling due to a very heavy cactus growing on one of the branches and causing it to fall. A national champion tree arborist examined the tree and said it is perfectly healthy and did a sit in when the chain saws arrived last week which drew media exposure and more protesters. Meanwhile the tavern proprietors claim it is unhealthy and must get the hench. And so the fight goes on.
We are tired, very tired and burned out. Every week there is Landcare and replanting trees, endless meetings for No Rally Group, Wildlife Carers, Environment and Greens groups, Team Koala, Water Options Group, fund-raising groups and Community Voice to develop new candidates for the next council elections on top of submissions to write for plans on public exhibition, speeches to write to present to council at community access, attending council meetings every month and writing letters to the Editor of local newspapers. Oh and did I mention we are not paid for our efforts?
So it would have been good to hear Mr Ruming say that our good government Department of Environment was going to use funds to actually DO something to help our biodiversity.
Finally, Mr Ruming confessed that DECCW was in fact not planning to implement this plan and that it was up to local groups, individual citizens
(yes, us exhausted, overworked, ageing, unpaid residents!)
to put pressure on councils to apply for funding to actually do something. It wouldn't be so bad if councils and governments actually listened to us but the sad fact is they rarely do. The result is that all of this drags on for so long and meanwhile .... day by day ... our species become extinct.
It seems to me, and I could be wrong, that since DECCW has the funding shouldn't THEY be doing the actions instead of passing the buck to councils, other government departments and ultimately us, the unpaid plebs?
Enlisting Tweed Shire Council
In another desperate attempt to get some action from Tweed council on the 5th August I wrote to the Biodiversity officer. Following is my letter:-
It was very helpful for me to talk to you the other week and again my apologies for taking so much of your precious time.
You said you were open to any ideas of how TSC could help biodiversity, and I appreciate your sincerity. So here are some ideas:-
1. As you know many animals are killed on the road. I realise it's not physically possible to put underpasses on existing roads but overpasses should be possible. For example on Kyogle Rd past Uki there is a great deal of roadworks going on with bush on either side where wildlife would inhabit. Are there going to be any overpasses included in roadworks there? These may be outside your domain i.e. transport authority so please let me know if so and who to contact. Simple animal crossings could be constructed of roap configured as a ladder as possums, bandicoots and koalas would traverse that. This is something that would not cost very much money and could be implemented widely without too much disruption to traffic.
2. Purchase a building to be used as a wildlife hospital and pay specialist wildlife vets and staff to work there 24/7. At present carers have to drive to Currumbin which is costing a lot in petrol and stressing out the injured animal unnecessarily. Yes this would cost a lot but didn't TSC receive a large biodiversity grant? It appears most of the funding is being used on bush regen and control of Indian Myna birds. TSC is spending millions of dollars on other programs, why not wildlife? It is worth a lot to the shire due to our ecotourism industry which is growing, but not if we lose them all due to roadkill!
3. Supplement wildlife carers for any costs incurred in rehabilitating injured animals (food, veterinary fees, medications, petrol, equipment). I realise this has never been done before but since many carers are on a pension they often sacrifice their own food requirements to look after the animals or buy a cheap type of food that is not good for the animal instead of buying the best food for them. Alternately, carers work full-time which limits their ability to care for wildlife. I have come across injured wildlife at midnight only to find that no carers wanted to help as they had to get up early to go to work.
4. The other problem is dogs, not just feral dogs but also dogs owned by people who let them run wherever they want on their property in the bush, especially at night. Could there be signs along rural roads as to what the fine is should people be found to let their dogs roam? This would serve as a perpetual education for locals. A better solution for people with dogs (and cats) would be to have dog and cat runs where the animal could run around in an area and be in the elements day and night if they chose to be or come into a sheltered area such as a house. These runs could be constructed of recycled materials by people working for the 'dole.' If runs weren't so expensive I am sure more people would have them as they want their animal to be happy and safe versus being locked up all the time.
5. It's good you are having more road signs urging people to slow down at dawn and dusk in order to avoid hitting wildlife. As I mentioned, many people are unaware of the possible presence of joeys in marsupials' pouches and if they were better educated more people might stop to check. Could there be an ongoing education of the community via Tweed Link?
That is just a few ideas for now. Please let me know if you think any of these are feasible.
Five weeks passed and no reply. The officer was at the DECCW lecture I described above so I said hello and he apologised for not answering, explaining that he passed my email around to other officers for comment. Apparently they nixed the idea of rope overpasses for koalas claiming they didn't work. I pointed out that they do work for possums and other animals however. His comment "Ah but possums aren't a threatened species."
That is exactly the attitude that is causing 'sleeper species' (today's common species that become tomorrow's extinct species - coined to by Dan Ramp, ecologist from University of N.S.W.). The most common animal I see killed on the roads is bandicoot, followed by possums and snakes. Even wallabies are seen more and more rarely as threats from habitat loss, cars, packs of feral dogs and stress take their toll.
This same officer responded to a question from the audience about logging that was supposedly happening in koala territory, Reserve Creek, Round Mountain. Whether it is or not, his response mystified me - "Logging is the least of my worries when it comes to koalas".
Hello, koalas live in trees, trees being felled often with them in it with no attempt made to remove them first, killing them. Funny, I thought ecologists agreed that habitat loss (which would include tree felling) is the #1 threat to koalas? With less than 200 koalas estimated to be left in the shire shouldn't we be doing everything possible to save every single one?
While we can say that every tree counts, every animal counts too, whether it is threatened or not because a vibrant and healthy ecosystem depends on having as many players as possible. The more native animals, the more manure (the good kind, not nitrogen loaded cow manure) for the soil. The better the soil, the more plants. The more plants, the more oxygen. The more oxygen, the better environment for humans to live in. Additionally, the more fauna the fewer insects which would raze our crops and make our lives miserable, forcing us to use carcinogenic chemicals that in the end kill us too.
If there was real community engagement on the part of DECCW or Tweed Shire Council, they would be coming to us and asking us, the people on the ground, what are the issues and how can we find solutions instead of spending possibly millions of dollars on elaborate power point presentations, publications, CDs and websites. Then our wildlife MIGHT have a chance. All that money could instead be put to immediate use with constructive results or better yet, paid to locals who have invested hundreds of hours compiling reports UNPAID for their services.
The gross inequity of this (distribution of funds being given only to those employed by government while expecting citizens do much of the work) is abuse of democracy of the worst kind. Further insult is heaped on top of that because while governments have the funds to implement actions and the ability to make laws that are necessary to protect our environment, they refuse to do so effectively and thus we are forced to watch with broken hearts our dying native species.
What a travesty.
'It may be tempting to believe our 4WD has bumped over a wombat.' (from an article in a magazine)
Roadkill is driving some species towards extinction. Too few safe corridors for animals to find more food. Too many cars and trucks on many more roads through their habitats.
How about a campaign to stop carelessness about road-kill? This could encompass:
1. More careful night-driving. through countrysides and slower diving through bushland could prevent so many deaths and so many orphaned creatures that other people may then try to save, or don't.
2. Invention. Can a form of warning that is effective in warning for animals up to four minutes ahead of the coming killing-machine be invented for use by cars and trucks in places and at times that creatures are liable to be hit. Headlights can simply paralyse them in the middle of the road.
3. Safe crossing tunnels and overheads which are used in some countries. These should be build in places where many small animals get run over.
4. A British man eats road-kill as his way of preventing waste.
5. Raise awareness. It would be interesting to know how many drivers know they have driven over animals. The Royal Australian Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV) could ask its members. Let's have some idea of the grim tally.
What are people feeling is their own greatest collective guilt? There's a lot of it around. Trillions are spent on weapons of horrible destruction – even by the 'goodies?
Universal Guilt Day – making a real Day of Atonement - followed by ? Could we have a Peace and Saving Museum?
1. "Tassie's roadkill carnage" by Michelle Paine in teh Hobart Mercury of 21 Nov 08.
NEARLY 300,000 animals are killed on Tasmanian roads every year. Among them, 4000 Tasmanian devils -- about 5 per cent of a population already being dying from an infectious cancer.
"Pretty much everything that lives in Tasmania, we've seen dead on the road," said scientist Alistair Hobday, who has compiled the figures in one of the most extensive roadkill studies in the world.
"Of that, 70 per cent are hit in roadkill blackspots, which only exist on small sections of the road."
2. roadkill.wilddiscovery.com.au/ "Wild Discovery Guides - Australian Wildlife RoadKill, A Wild Discovery Guide" with Len Zell.
Wild Discovery PO Box 1696 Townsville Qld 4810 ISBN 0-9757184-3-6 RRP: A$19.95. The description is:
Roadkill was shortlisted for the 2007 Whitley Award for significant contribution to Australian zoology. This is the essential 'in-car' book for any road traveller in Australia. With about one million kilometres of road, anyone travelling them is, sadly, very likely to see or cause roadkill - certainly of the millions of small bugs that will be hit.This book provides an overview of the types of roadkill, hints on what to do with them, how to clean bugs off the car and an eclectic mix of other information - from road safety to recipes. In addition the book gives an unusual insight into the many aspects of Australia's very special fauna, albeit in a somewhat macabre way.More than 200 photographs of roadkill all some identification and an excellent guide on how to avoid and observe roadkill and who to send interesting specimens to.
3. Macabre ‘humour' at www.wwwildcats.com/abz.htm
Due to the creative genius of one Charlie Conroy whom we proudly claim as one of our own, we are excited to announce a world first, the ABZ of ROADKILL. This is a photographic competition open to all bikers worldwide, it is designed to utilise something that would otherwise just lie around going to waste, and is currently regarded just as something to stay upwind of and to avoid hitting when it is lying in the middle of the road. This comp is aimed as a small way of making their sacrifice worthwhile and at the same time offending the general population. Both worthy aspirations of any genuine bikers!
4. Ten minutes on Google can find you a whole lot of insensitive things done and thought about roadkill.
A common line of argument from those who favor population growth in Australia is that it's all a matter of optimism versus pessimism, and that environmentalists are much too negative. But there are situations where optimism would be better named meglomania.
Picture adapted from William Blake's Nebukadnezar
Last words of the Dodo
Weren’t, “I would rather be an optimist than a pessimist,” the famous last words of the dodo bird?"
In Rudd welcomes 'big Australia'
Rudd talked about being optimistic about Australia's growing population, which he is encouraging in the face of growing democratic panic as the public feel the adverse consequences.
Because of this new parties are forming with policies to stop population growth in Australia.
A common line of argument from those who favor growth, such as economist Glenn Withers, is that it's all a matter of optimism versus pessimism, and that environmentalists are much too negative.
Ex-journalist, now Labor politician, Maxine McKew, recently told the Australian Q & A television show that, since we would all rather be optimists than pessimists, she was going to take the optimistic view on Australia's carrying capacity and on the livability of larger cities, and that to her mind ended the argument.
Optimism or meglomania
Too bad if people in Australia cannot afford water and heating or shelter - let's all remain optimists! What a negligent attitude from a person responsible for the conditions which may lead to starvation and exposure for so many.
"Doomsayers have always been wrong" say the cheerleaders of the growth lobby. Mark O'Connor identifies this attitude as coming from their vast ignorance of human history, and compares their glibness with the glibness of the Chaldeans telling Nebuchadnezzar "O King, live forever" (Book of Daniel, 3.9).
Nebuchadnezzar was an infrastructure and growth obsessed King who believed that his kingdom of bricks and mortar, and their financial foundations, would be eternal. Like Australia's Prime Minister and State Premiers, he thought he had the solutions to everything and that anyone who disagreed was not worth listening to. In the Bible, the political opposition was symbolised as a new religion, whose prosyletisers Nebuchadnezzar put down by various brutal means. The fact that an organised political opposition had formed is indicative that Nebuchadnezzar's wealth and power were based on disempowering his constituents. His key advisors learned to tell him what he wanted to hear or face the consequences. The king had dreams that were interpreted as warning him that his kingdom would crumble as would others that followed. His response was to built a huge gold statue of himself at public expense.
But Nebuchadnezzar's grandiosity was exposed for the madness it was. He was driven out of his own city and spent seven years living like a wild animal. [Ed. Apologies to wild animals who seem to lead blameless lives in reality, especially compared to politicians.]
Mark O'Connor says that one thing experience has taught him is not to trust anyone who seeks to reduce complex factual issues to optimism versus pessimism.
Hope, fear and propaganda
Vlad Stoikovich, who was recently on a population 'debate' on SBS's Insight program writes,
"Population boosters often paint the population debate as being one of HOPE verses FEAR. They, being on the side of hope, see themselves as visionaries with an unshakeable confidence in the creativity of mankind. On the side of fear, they group together -
“the villains”: NIMBYs, bigots, scaremongers and conservationists, people resistant to and fearful of change, pessimists whose innate distrust of mankind is their greatest failing.
To present the case for and against in such a light is clearly just another case of moral manipulation, an attempt by boosters with vested interests to hold the moral high ground at the expense of reasoned, logical debate. So in the interest of fairness let’s reverse their proposition and assume that boosters are on the side of FEAR and population stabilisers the side of HOPE.
Could such an argument be valid?
We only have to analyse booster arguments to deduce what it is they FEAR:
* Boosters FEAR that we cannot maintain economic growth without population growth.
* Boosters FEAR that the personal stake they have in controlling capital, land and business wealth will not be maximized.
* Boosters FEAR that we will not be able to support an aging population.
* Boosters FEAR that we will revert into a bigoted, Anglo-centric fortress Australia, which breeds suspicion and hatred of those different from us.
* Boosters FEAR strategic/military weakness and invasion from foreign powers.
So what do stabilisers HOPE for?
* We HOPE for a world in which our children can enjoy the same abundant natural environment and species that we enjoy today.
* We HOPE for an economic model which takes into account the full environmental, social and cultural impacts of our choices.
* We HOPE for an Australia whose growth is based on doing things smarter, more productively and in a way which gives all Australians the opportunity to participate and prosper.
* And the list goes on!
Boosters believe in the boundless ingenuity of humanity, they put their faith in the great scientists and machines of tomorrow, that will enable us to consume and grow without limits. But ingenuity comes in many forms and it should be recognized that before every great leap of science comes an even greater leap of philosophy . Perhaps the ingenuity they so crave is not to be found in their grand technological visions of tomorrow, but in the simple philosophical shifts now happening right under their noses."
 Remark made by Robert Jameson on [email protected] on 07/06/2010 13:23
Some claim kangaroo meat is 'green'. Some even claim killing kangaroos is 'better' for Australia's environment. So what if Australian farmers of lamb, beef, pork and chicken transitioned to kangaroo?
To this author it is like employing Ivan Milat to skin platypus for cheap token tourist purses.
Personal bias aside, Australia's Federal Treasury Secretary, Ken Henry, has highlighted the flawed presumptions of Australia's roo trade as unviable.
The following extracts are taken from Sydney Morling Herald's Jacob Saulwick in his article 'Henry doubts viability of roo harvesting' of 13-Mar-10:
The message being sent by the Australian Government in this 21st Century and in this UN International Year of Biodiversity is that killing wildlife and trade in wildlife is in 2010 somehow acceptable. Even Australia’s Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett at the CITES conference this month failed to oppose the continuation of international trade in critically endangered Bluefin Tuna and Polar Bears. Garrett should go back to singing for his supper.
Australia’s many species of macropods (mainly kangaroo and wallabies) used to be prolific. Now according to the World Wildlife Fund, 42 macropod species are listed, or in the process of being listed, on the IUCN red-list of species threatened with extinction. The distribution and abundance of all bettongs has been severely affected since European settlement. Of all 10 types of bettongs four are extinct, three are threatened and three are considered to be at low risk of extinction.
Western Australia’s woylie population has suffered more than a 90 per cent decline and has been re-listed as critically endangered. Of all five types of potoroos, one species is extinct, three are threatened and one subspecies is considered low risk despite suffering a 10-50 per cent decline in population. With 80 per cent of potoroo species extinct or at risk of extinction, this group of macropods has been severely affected.
There was one type of desert rat kangaroo, which is now extinct. Only known from the hottest and driest parts of Central Australia, has not been seen since 1935.
So long as Australia’s Liberal and Labor governments permit wildlife shooting, there will be people out there like Chris that will exploit it. It is time to outlaw wildlife poaching throughout Australia. It is morally wrong and it is driving species extinctions.
CONFESSIONS OF A WILDLIFE SERIAL KILLER
The following responses to questions were made by a self confessed wildlife killer in Dalby Queensland between 27th and 30th March 2010.
1. Killing kangaroos for commercial meat and destroying their remnant habitat is just a hangover from illegal colonist exploitation of Australia. Killing wildlife is poaching.
Roo Killer Response:
“its only poaching if the animal is protected form all licensed shooting - example koalas, wombats platypus.”
2. Killing native wildlife is wrong. Eating it only encourages supply of kangaroo meat, and perpetuate the wrong.
Roo Killer Response:
“why is it wrong explain that no one can cause there is no right or wrong just different points of view.”
3. Most kangaroo meat is sold as pet food, "not for human consumption". The pets (mainly cats and dogs) are introduced animals. Not only are colonists killing wildlife, they feed it to their pets.
Roo Killer Response:
“71% of roos shot in Australia are exported to Russia for human consumption, 25% for pet food and 4% are shot only for there skins…i shoot only for human consumption.”
4. If as roo poachers claim, that it is ok to eat Kangaroo, what about wombat, Koala and Platypus and dog?
Roo Killer Response:
“wombats, koalas and platypus are protected by law roo's arent protected if you have a marco pods harvesting licence and mate i dare you to eat a dogs liver and see if you live to tell the tail.”
5. "People are capable of eating anything that is available." So why is cat and dog not included? They are introduced animals. Thousands remain unwanted in RSPCA depots and lethal injection is a humane way of killing them. The Koreans eat dog so why not Australians?
Roo Killer Response:
“cause we’re Australian not Korean, dog is a delicacy to Koreans as is kangaroo to most of the world.”
6. Rood poaching ignores the ecological cost. If the roos shooters had to pay per carcass for the loss of the wildlife, their commercial exploitation would not be profitable. I can't see that with roo meat selling for under $4 a kilo how it is profitable anyway. Shooting wildlife for pet meat for pittance?
Roo Killer Response:
“so should people that own cats then have to pay for all the wildlife they kill. all we do is make a good living of an over populated community of animals keep the numbers down for everyone. and i can get a different job when ever i want i'm a mechanical fitter/welder by trade but i choose to do what i love.”
7. So long as cowboy poachers in utes hoon around the scrub shooting wildlife for a pittance and seek to legitimise it by calling it a 'kangaroo industry', there ought to be calls to set up a Poacher Culling Industry.
Roo Killer Response:
“I agree cause 98% of the cowboys hooning around the bush culling roo's aren't accredited and there shooting roos that i can make good money off. poacher's should have the book thrown at them they dont treat the animals the way professional's do.”
8. So where are kangaroos "out of control"? Why were theyr not out of control pre-white fella?
Roo Killer Response:
“if you knew anything about the Australian bush you'd know not much can actually live of the native grasses so when white fellas came and introduces good feed the roos got outta control. put a gold fish in a small tank it grows to the size that suit it's environment.... put the same gold fish in a big tanks and it will grow bigger to suit that environment if there is sufficient food.”
9. What is the minimum definition of a "professional shooter"? Is it anyone licenced to shoot holding a long arm licence? In NSW, this can mean a supervised 12 year old. How are recreational shooters and farmers holding a shooters licence distinguished from professional marksman with a marksman rating? I don't think they are. Australian shooting associations are all amateur and voluntary and there is no official 'professional shooters licence' as much as many roo shooters would comfort from such legitimacy.
Roo Killer Response:
“You have to hold a special license to harvest kangaroos in Australia, issues after an accuracy test and 2 TAFE courses are passed and your vehicle is up to spec and registered threw the states macro-pod harvesting agency the license is issued by the state you live in, the shooters association of Australia has nothing to do with it except issuing me with a gun license saying i can legally own a firearm,you must have a Queensland macro-pod harvesting registration number to btw and there is a special license, if anyone with out this license is caught shooting roo's it is classed as poaching and they get the book thrown at them with a jail term in toe.”
10. A kangaroo's head at 300 metres at dawn or dusk when kangaroos are grazing and so typically shot by roo shooters. This marksman standard ought to be the Australian professional standard. But I reckon we'd find bugger all shooters competent to that accuracy. Hence, despite this being a typical scenario this is why the lack of independent monitoring and systemic cover up of body shots.
Roo Killer Response:
“the government states an accuracy test must be past at 100 yard, 5 out of 5 shots in an inch and a half circle at 100 yards it like the size of a coke lid at that distance, and on a typical night i will take shots in excess of 450yards with a ruger mark2 m77 varmint rifle .223 caliber and hit it in the eye 9 out of 10 time, the other time it goes up its nasal cavity, roo shooters can out shot any long distance sportsman shooter by a long shot we depend on it for a living and shooting targets is a waste of time unless your sighting in your new rifle.”
11. Why is there no independent government watchdog overseeing roo shooters in outback QLD, NSW, SA, WA? Is it because state governments couldn't give a toss?
Roo Killer Response:
“Queensland macro-pod harvesting branch is located in charleville, and each shooter has to purchase tags with the numbers on it so a table to field trace can be establish and all carcasses are inspected by a government vet b4 the go for human consumption, or dog meat. yet again your not in the industry so i wouldn't expect you to actually know the facts only the emotional stuff.”
12. "Kangaroos are destroying...crops" Where?
Roo Killer Response:
“go talk to any wheat. lucerne, oat, or any veggie farmer and they will give you the honest truth and you have to actually leave the city to see where the kangaroos are doing the damage, go to any country town sit at the bar at the local pub and ask the old fellas or any locals from the area and you'll be told what you need to be told.”
13. "Kangaroos are taking valuable feed away from cattle" Where?
Roo Killer Response:
“the macro-pod harvesting license is issued by the EPA (environmental protection agency) just to add insult to injury. check out www.rooshooter.com.au for a little heads up”
(Kangaroo killing) ..."it’s not a pittance of a wage mate since the chiller box re-opened on the 15/1/2010 till this morning 29/3/2010 i placed my 5204th tag on the last roo i shot last night. and that's just for this year so far..... at an average weight of 28kg's going off my records that's right every roo has to be recorded when, where, weight etc..... so far this year that's a grand total of $98,876 b4 taxes.... so if i actually shot for the entire year i will have shot 20816 roos for the year there lucky i take 3 months off over winter aren't they.... and that's just me 1 of over 1500 registered roo shooters in Queensland alone. And yet most of us full timers shoot an average of 20,000 roo's a year and somehow we keep doing this year in and year out and the numbers aren't dropping there's still in excess of 60 million roo's in Australia according to last years study done by the EPA so really we need more roo shooter's."
"well you all have a good day I'm going to bed got a long night ahead of me making my pittance of a wage. oh and tiger quoll maybe some time you should come out roo shooting with me so you can see what its all about. sorry but i can't let you shoot any cause well that would be poaching but you'll still see them in plague proportion and actually know how it really is and see first hand the damage they do. well y'all have fun working the jobs that you hate while i sleep the day away after a profitable night 1100 buck for one night at work who woulda guessed you could make this kinda money and actually enjoy your job."
lol that was funny (29-Mar-2010):
“lol just fueled me ute up at the bp in dalby with a 32 roos and 8 pigs on the back, there were a bus load of city slickers there lol, never seen so many peeps near threw up and crying lmao why do people react to it like that if you dont like wat we do in the bush stay in the city. might have been cause watto and i were eating kfc while we were fueling up dont know. you all need to harden up. its the easiest thing a person can do for a living. yet again your all just turning the situation back around to emotional crap the roo's dont feel a thing they dont even know wats happened to em.
And yeha roo's may have been here for thousands of years but i can tell ya this i'll be shooting them till the day i die and i wont even make an impact on there numbers in australia, my son is an up and coming roo shooter to at the age of 4 he can skin and gut a roo nearly as quick as me and over the last 4 weekends he has shoot over 50 roos with only 8 misses they still didnt get away tho like always dad was there to clean up the mess. my advice is roo shooters are here to stay deal with it weather it's leagally or illegally roos will be shoot till the end of time or at least untill they learn to shoot back. if you dont like it dont purchase any of the products and you'll be rite out of site out of mind.
i'm chris's partner (29-Mar-2010)
“hi all look i'm a chick and go out every now and then shooting with chris and yes he told me he said about our son going along look its something that as an animal lover i see your point of view on the situation , i used to hate it until i started going out shooting with him and there is actually nothing morally wrong with it at all, chris kills every animal with the utmost respect and never hurts or injuries any joeys they get a quick and painless death like the rest of the roos in his sites, in the last 6 years we've been together i think i've only seen him misses 10 times and that wasn't a complete miss that was a neck shot instead of a head shot, he truely is a master at what he does, and plus the look on his face when he teaches his son and spends time with him out there is worth any amount of roo's lives, i have a photo of chris with our son and the first pig he shot the smile on chris's face i've only seen a few time , when we got married and when our son was born. it's like any thing if you love it you excell at it and do it right. look what happens out there is up to the individual dont judge all roo shooters on the ones you see in the papers giving them a bad name they arent doing anything wrong, there making a living of the land and helping out the local farmers. if cattle were australian wildlife would you all be lobbing to stop them being farmed???? or trying to make life harder for the beef industry i think not.
And to answer you suggestion (29-Mar-2010)
"...Yes, it is as easy as choosing a small or large macca's meal, he doesnt even bat an eye lid at them when i first went out shooting with him i grabbed one of the joeys and tried to take it home with us, chris went off and killed it i felt bad but i understand why he lives by the you gotta be cruel to be kind theory cause well its true it's a sad fact but it has to be done. it's not cruel or inhumane the way he does it, he does it by the book. if he can he tries to avoid shooting doe's for the fact that well i dont think he actually likes to kill the joey's, he might not flinch or have any compassion for the joey if he does shoot a doe's that has a joey but he doesnt smile for a while after. so i think it does in a way affect him when he has to kill a joey just he's not the type to show it. he's gunna be pissed at me for saying that but well he isn't a cold heartless killer like most of you may think.
loop holes mate loop holes (30-Mar-2010):
"There's a loop hole in the claws that people shooting with an accredited shooter, can if deemed competent by the accredited person to assist in them in there duties it doesn't actually state that they can't shoot the roo's while under the supervision of an a credited shooter, i was just getting my point across to tiger quoll that it's not poaching in any way shape or form if you have the correct license's. i honestly think that any one and every one should be aloud to shoot roo's with no limitations, its plain and simple there's to many of them i boxed 114 of them last night and could have easily shot more, but the night isn't long enough, also got 26 pigs there worth more but harder to find even tho there in plague proportion to unlike a roo a pig has a mind and thinks as soon as a pig see's you, your dog, a spotlight ect they do the bolt. and this instinct isn't from being in a spot light before cause like a roo they'd be dead, nothing roo, goat, pig, deer, cat, rabbit, fox or dingo lives to tell the tale when i get my sights on it. a few of my cousins came up to my place last weekend and where trying to challenge me to see wat i could and couldnt do with my .223, there was a hare about 600 to 650 yards away and they put money on it that i couldnt hit it, more fool them, took its head clean off and just to show them it wasnt a fluke i placed the other 4 rounds in to the carcass."
"Look nothing that get shoot by a professional feels a like, it's oh look a light and there dead before they even hear the shot. now any other animal would be long gone after the first shot. but no a mob of roo's are the stupidest mob of animals in the world they jump 15-20 meters away and stop look back then start eating again if the paddock is big enough you can take out a mob of 20 within half and hour, and you only have to move your ute about 20meters in a circle. if they had any kind of smarts they would dissappear after the first shot, still doesnt help tho there just as perdictable on the hop as standing still just sit there and wait watch them threw the scope get the highest point while on the hop line it up and let her rip in the 6 years i've been shooting i've only missed maybe 10 roos that are on the hop and they were clean misses i dint nick the animal’
[Above comments were sourced from responses from Chris Palmer and his partner to a previous article by Menkit Prince ‘Kangaroo Meat: Why it's Not Good Bush Tucker!]
Snowy River 3885
The Brown Mountain landmark trial has begun!
After months of preparation, our legal team and supporters have gathered in Sale and begun the two-week Brown Mountain landmark trial.
Everything is going very well so far. It's difficult to report on a hearing that is in progress, particularly since we are the plaintiff, so this article might lack a few things.
Our lead barrister, Debbie Mortimer SC, spent Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning in Court outlining what we say are the facts and the law, in a fascinating opening submission.
She spoke about the beautiful native wildlife that is central to our case, and the Court was treated to large pictures of the critters. It was almost surreal, but quite appropriate in our view, to see a team of lawyers in black gowns and wigs defending the furry, the feathered, the cray and the frog.
She said that VicForests has a number of legal responsibilities towards the environment, including endangered species, and that those responsibilities are inconsistent with logging at Brown Mountain.
For a more detailed summary of the first day's hearing, read this excellent article by The Age journalist Kate Hagen, who is attending the hearing #10;h.html">Click here
Journalists from ABC Radio and Win TV (channel 9) are also attending the hearings.
VicForests' lead barrister Ian Waller SC started outlining VicForests' case this afternoon. When Court adjourned today, he said he still had about an hour to go, so we haven't got the full picture yet.
But generally speaking he contended that VicForests' responsibility to the environment wasn't anywhere near as strong as we made out, and was balanced by its requirement to create economic and social benefits. He said that, to the extent to which VicForests has responsibilities to the environment and native wildlife, it has fulfilled them.
Judge and Legal teams in the field
On Wednesday, Justice Osborn and the legal teams were having a look at Brown Mountain first hand. It's not just a bushwalk, though; they will observe first hand some places and concepts about forests, logging and post-logging practices that will later on be discussed in Court.
On Thursday morning, VicForests' opening submissions is expected to finish, then Environment East Gippsland will bring out our witnesses.
Court is open to the public. You are welcome to attend if you are in Sale - there have been a few people sitting quietly in the public area. If you drop in, please come up and say hello.
A local wag is tweeting the trial. Click here for regular updates.
Court adjourned until Tuesday 9 March (Monday 8 is a public holiday.)
Information, but not headers, from Jill and the team at EEG
Environment East Gippsland Forest Update
To make a tax-deductible donation for this crucial trial:
* Online - CLICK HERE.
* By direct deposit - email info[AT]eastgippsland.com.au for our bank account details
* By cheque - Make out to EEG and send to: EEG, Locked Bag 3, ORBOST Vic 3888
Search for another food bowl:
The National Water Initiative, agreed in 2004 by the Council of Australian Governments, provided a national blueprint for water reform. The National Water Initiative recognised that, as the reality of changing water resource security in the south is better understood, there would be a need to consider the potential for other parts of Australia, such as the north, to support future land and water development.
One element of the plan was to establish the Northern Australia Land and Water Taskforce to address its enquiries to the key surface and groundwater systems within the Timor Sea and Gulf of Carpentaria drainage divisions and the North East Coast drainage division north of Cairns.
The Taskforce concluded that developing Northern Australia as an integrated, sustainable region was a complex policy challenge.
On paper at least, the figures are indeed astonishing: some one billion litres of rain dumps on northern Australia each year. Could the north satisfy not only Australia's rapidly growing population, but also the future needs of our Asian and South Pacific neighbours?
It seems not. Or at least not to that degree according to a three-year Federal Government study into the sustainable development of northern Australia. It also points to the damage that high rainfall can do, stripping away top soil, leaving the ground infertile.
The Top End is governed by its two seasons - the wet season from November to April when it's a deluge, and the dry, when the taps are off. The north still has that powerful hold over people's imagination.
Projects such as the Green Hills dam on the Gilbert River near Georgetown, a dam on the Flinders River at Hughenden, and other water storage facilities researched for the Flinders at Richmond and Julia Creek and along the Norman River have proved to be pipe dreams for those western communities.
The CSIRO water study, presented to the taskforce last year, found there was not enough water to irrigate large swaths of land in the north without doing major damage to the rivers and the surrounding environment.
The taskforce recommended no new dams, but advocated a mosaic of small-scale irrigation systems "that have carefully combined arable land with available water".
In other words, for all the southern Murray-Darling Basin’s problems with record drought and the threat of a drying, warming climate, the Northern Australia Land and Water Task Force report found that northern Australia has only limited potential for expanding irrigated agriculture and horticulture – between 20,000 and 40,000 hectares, compared to about 1.4 million hectares in the Murray-Darling Basin.
Northern Australia’s rich biodiversity and strong Indigenous cultures are world renowned and should form the basis for sustainable economic development across the region.....There can be a strong economic and conservation future for northern Australia, but it will lie in the development of industries that are well suited to the region, such as tourism and good management of fisheries and land, says Don Henry, ACF executive director.
ACF believes a sustainable future, particularly for Indigenous communities, lies in increased opportunities in these industries.
The Murray-Darling Basin
The Murray-Darling Basin covers 1,061,469 square kilometres or approximately one-seventh (14%) of the total area of Australia (7,692,024 square kilometres).
It is the lifeblood for eastern Australia, stretching 1,061,469 square kilometres through Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. The three main river systems that make up the Murray-Darling Basin include the Darling River, the Murrumbidgee River, the Lachlan River and Billabong Creek; and the Murray River itself.
It contains over 40% of all Australian farms, which produce wool, cotton, wheat, sheep, cattle, dairy produce, rice, oil-seed, wine, fruit and vegetables for both domestic and overseas markets. As Australia's most important agricultural region, the Basin produces one third of Australia's food supply and supports over a third of Australia's total gross value of agricultural production.
The Basin's most valuable resource is water.
The Murray-Darling Basin is home to a large number of different plants and animals.
About the Murray River
It has at least 35 endangered species of birds, 16 species of endangered mammals and over 35 different native fish species. Unfortunately, 20 species of mammals have already become extinct.
The Murray-Darling Basin is one of the richest sources of Indigenous archaeological and heritage sites in Australia. There are many hundreds of significant Indigenous sites along
the River. They include scarred trees, burial sites, campsites, canoe trees, hidden sites and earth sites.
Almost the entire Basin had been explored and occupied by Europeans within 50 years of the crossing of the Great Dividing Range. The development of a European way of life resulted in unintentional degradation of many of the Basin’s natural resources. This lack of knowledge about soil, climate, and geology of the Murray-Darling Basin has led to serious environmental problems including salinity, rising water tables and excessive vegetation clearances.
A 2001 report:
Forty per cent of the river length assessed was impaired, having lost a significant number of aquatic macroinvertebrates expected to occur there.
Ten per cent of river length was found to be severely impaired, having lost at least 50 per cent of the types of aquatic macroinvertebrates expected to occur there.
More than 95 per cent of the river length assessed in the Murray-Darling Basin had an environmental condition that was degraded, and 30 per cent was substantially modified from the original condition.
Native vegetation is currently being threatened by rising salinity (salt) levels; human-made changes to flooding and drying areas; and careless campers, boaters and land-developers. Nevertheless, with climate change threatening to make matters worse, finding a solution to the water crisis is becoming more urgent.
Close to half of Australia's saline seepage is located in Murray-Darling Basin, especially the Lower Murray-Darling.
Three processes greatly increase the rate of salinisation: land clearing, erection of river structures, and irrigation.
The main forms of land degradation are:
Land degradation is one of the most serious environmental problems in Australia.
Algae and nutrient pollution
Processing and re-use of sewerage (as fertiliser) is the easiest and least expensive option being examined, as over 200 towns with a combined population of over 1 million dispose of sewage into the Murray-Darling basin.
The more difficult problem of decreasing the use of fertiliser by farmers has yet to be seriously addressed.
The clearance of forests and the modification of flood plains has resulted in significant decline in biodiversity in the Murray-Darling basin system. Furthermore, the introduction of exotic species of trees (willows, poplars, blackberries etc.) has further degraded channel vegetation.
Environmental flows for the Murray
(photo: Lake Hume from Bethanga Bridge)
The Murray River has poor water quality, it has lost native plants, animals, fish, forest, and wetlands, and has experienced an increase in the presence of pests such as European carp (MDBC, 2002). Additionally, the health of the river is expected to decline further if the present management system is not changed.
A main cause of this decline is found to be the large amounts of water being taken from the Murray for irrigation and other uses. But, whilst the declining health of the Murray River is recognised by government, agricultural, and conservation groups alike, the competing uses and values ascribed to water mean that, although many accept the need for increased water flow, the decision-making process is decidedly complex.
Under Water for the Future the Government has committed $3.1 billion over 10 years to purchase water in the Murray-Darling Basin. The program will complement a range of other measures to achieve sustainable water management in the Basin. Buying water entitlements for our rivers and wetlands; and extensive investment in more efficient irrigation systems.
As salt levels rise and the river dries, tube worms have travelled upstream, building their homes on the native turtles – and just about anything else they can find. The marine worms attach themselves to the backs of the turtles, colonising them until they are so weighed down they drown.
There have been warnings of impending disaster for the Murray–Darling Basin for more than a decade, but here near the mouth it is suddenly real and shockingly rapid. Inflows to the Murray system remain at record lows. The removal of water for last summer’s irrigation, coupled with evaporation, has seen lake levels plummet. Since 2002, however, the mouth at Goolwa has been kept open only by constant dredging.
The Murray-Darling decline remains the single largest natural disaster in this country since European settlement. Unlike the other natural disasters we are currently facing, this has been a long, slow process (over the past several seasons), and has generally remained ‘below the radar’ for most of the media/general public. Many of the horticultural growers are now forced out of business by an ongoing series of disasters (frost, hail, heat wave) compounding the Irrigation Drought, and are not simply comprised of small (‘marginal’ or non?viable) growers.
The collapse of the Coorong wetlands at the mouth of the Murray River is shaping up to be one of the Australia's worst environmental disasters. Bird numbers in the region have fallen dramatically and freshwater turtles continue to die in large numbers. Professor Richard Kingsford said estimates of waterbirds for the region were 250,000 in November 2007 but a similar survey last year showed numbers had declined 48 per cent.
The absence of refreshing water from the Murray means The Coorong – listed under the international treaty for the conservation of wetlands, the Ramsar Convention – struggles.
Food Bowl Tasmania
The Premier of Tasmania, David Bartlett chose a lettuce farm on the outskirts of Richmond to spruik his long held vision of Tasmania as the nation's food bowl as an election issue. Labor has a plan for the future that absolutely incorporates irrigation and developing Tasmania as a food bowl but more to the point developing Tasmania's irrigable land such that prosperity continues to flow, he said.
Mr Bartlett said he stood by his claims that as the Murray-Darling dries up, Tasmania, with 13 new irrigation schemes delivering 250,000 megalitres a year, could become Australia's strongest food-growing region.
The 2010 Intergenerational Report just released by the government "predicts" (plans) an increase in Australia’s population by 2050 to more than 36 million, of which 22 per cent will be over 65 years old. This larger population will need to be fed, so Australia will have to ramp up our food production to avoid becoming reliant on expensive imported food.
The Intergenerational Report said Australia's population was “expected” (engineered) to grow to 35.9 million in 2050 from 22.2 million in 2010.
Peak horticulture body Growcom said the 36 million Australians would need economical, fresh and healthy food supplies. “Sustainability” has no meaning if a massive area of rivers and ecosystems and a rich biodiversity cannot endure the commercial and domestic impacts of population, industries and agriculture.
There is no national plan in place to guarantee that arable land with suitable water and climatic requirements and adequate infrastructure will be available in the future to guarantee our food supply, Growcom CEO Alex Livingstone said on Wednesday.
Our environment for "food bowls" is limited in Australia, and we are already seeing the impacts on Ramsar wetlands, extinctions and species threats, the Great Barrier Reef, the Murray Darling food bowl, the red river gums and loss of old-growth forests.
There is not one long-term problem that can be solved by larger cities. Like the Titanic, a larger population make it harder to avoid the environmental catastrophes predicted from climate change and human impacts.
Kevin Rudd has declared that climate change is the moral challenge of our times, but while he is importing some 500,000 new immigrants from overseas each year, accounting for 60% of our growth, he is clearly contradicting himself. One-issue parties, based on economic growth, will find it hard to address environmental and climate change issues while they are addicted to limitless growth - at all costs!
Photos courtesy of Wikimedia commons:
Magpie-goose -locally extinct
Eastern Hare wallaby -extinct
Pig footed bandicoot -extinct
Southern hairy nosed wombat -endangered
Spotted tail quoll -endangered
Brush-tail rock wallaby -endangered
Squirrel glider -endangered