According to data compiled by the state government, millions of native creatures, including wallabies, green rosellas, cockatoos, and wombats, have been killed in Tasmania under property protection licences.
The Tasmanian Greens argue that a wider legislative investigation into the management and protection of wildlife in Tasmania should be conducted in order to study the “staggering” findings, which were first reported by The Mercury newspaper.
In Tasmania, landowners can acquire property protection permits that give them the authority to kill wildlife in order to stop it from harming their livestock, crops, or infrastructure.
The Greens are concerned that the precise number of animals killed by this technology is unknown and that the wider environmental implications have not been sufficiently evaluated.
According to new information provided in responses to inquiries on notice, 859,304 native animals were eliminated in 2021 alone, and another 53,352 up through June 6 of this year.
When data from 2020 and 2019 are added, the total increases to nearly 2.8 million.
It comprises 168 common wombats, 530,487 brushtail possums, 1,176,002 Bennetts wallabies, 1,088,117 rufous wallabies, and 1,088,117 rufous wallabies that were registered as having been killed between 2019 and 6 June of this year.
Black swans, forester kangaroos, and yellow-tailed black cockatoos are some of the other species that are impacted (also known as eastern grey kangaroos).
Approximately 3,400 licences for the killing of local wildlife were issued between July 1 and June 6 of this year.
The government should cooperate with landowners to lessen native wildlife’s negative effects on properties through non-lethal measures, according to Cassy O’Connor, the leader of the Green Party.
Considering that “Tasmanians deserve to know what is being done to ensure, in a time of climate and biodiversity crisis, this island’s wildlife is has a future,” she said the party would be requesting a thorough inquiry into wildlife protection and management.
The amount of native species killed, according to Rosalie Woodruff, the Tasmanian Greens’ spokesperson for biodiversity and the environment, is “heartbreaking.”
She said that several of the creatures were beloved and that many people made special trips to visit them. She also claimed that some of the species had had recent local population decreases.
Additionally, Woodruff questioned whether property damage was accurately assessed before permits were given, as required by the permit system.
Where is the analysis of the impacts on biodiversity or the justification, she questioned, considering that hundreds of thousands of native creatures are killed lawfully each year through an opaque process.
The Wilderness Society’s manager of policy and strategy, Tim Beshara, raised alarm on the potential ecological effects of numerous animal carcasses remaining in the environment.
We may be talking about two to three times as many marsupial carcasses as there are vehicles on the road, or as many as 10,000 tonnes, he said.
“Leaving so many carcasses in patches over the environment is likely to raise numbers of species like feral cats and ravens, in turn producing large flow-through impacts to other species,” according to the study.
The restrictions for wildlife, according to a government spokesman, are in place to guarantee the sustainable management of animal populations throughout the state.
According to them, licenses are only given out when there is a clear need to protect crops, livestock, agricultural infrastructure, or equipment, after a property’s damage has been assessed.
To be clear, landowners employ a variety of management techniques, including fencing, netting, and noise-scarers, to try to maintain wildlife populations in the agricultural environment at a sustainable level and safeguard their investment and way of life, they stated.
“Farming is a business, and in order to maintain viability, our farmers must be able to manage their property.”
According to the spokeswoman, requests for permits were also evaluated in light of the Nature Conservation Act’s criteria.
Long-term wildlife population monitoring shows that the species covered by property protection permits have steady or growing populations, demonstrating the sustainability of the current method of removing animals.
Lead Image: More than a million Bennetts wallabies have been killed under Tasmania’s property protection permits since 2019. Photograph: Jamie Lamb/elusive-images.co.uk/Getty Images.
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