Wildcare responds

che 14 March 2008 22

One of the great things about RiotACT is every now and then someone actually in the know responds, effectively value adding to a story. Sometimes those comments are so informative they are worth drawing the rest of the community’s attention to, not just those people following the thread the comment was left on. This is such a case.

Below is the full unedited text (with the exception to the adding of a link to the thread and one to the canberraroos.com website) of a comment by Greg Tarlinton, Vice President of Wildcare; the website at the core of the Paul McCartney/VIVA bruharhar. Not only is his comment informative it’s well written and worth reading right to the end.


Comment by Greg Tarlinton — 14 March, 2008 @ 6:51 am

I just thought it worth addressing some of the comments in this thread. I set up the http://www.canberraroos.com website, not VIVA. VIVA placed a link to the site on their website and some sensationalist news services did the rest, I even saw one story claiming a spat between Peter Garret and Paul McCartney over the issue, I doubt the two have spoken about it.

Some history, this is fact, not hype. In early 2006, Defence commissioned HLA Consulting to prepare a report into kangaroo numbers at the BNTS site and was told that kangaroo numbers were too high and some kangaroos needed to be killed to reduce the population. Defence applied for and was granted a permit to kill the kangaroos in case this was necessary as the ACT has a culling season between the beginning of March and the end of July when the kangaroos can be killed. This became public knowledge and there was an outcry about the proposed killing.

Around the same time, a group of RSPCA employees led by ACT CEO Michael Linke attended the site and decided that the kangaroos were starving and needed to be killed to save them from starvation. They outlined to Defence the possibility of animal welfare charges being brought against them if they did not kill the kangaroos. It was proved this year in the grassland report prepared by Maxine Cooper that the kangaroos are not and never were actually starving.

Defence contacted Wildcare, a NSW based volunteer native wildlife rescue and care group whose area of operation surrounds the ACT to provide a report on humane alternatives to killing the kangaroos.

Wildcare prepared a report for Defence outlining a combination of translocation and reproductive interventions to reduce the kangaroo population to a sustainable level at the site.

The report was leaked to the media by someone in Defence and was subsequently lambasted by the ACT Government and the hastily formed Limestone Plains Group. Both of these, as well as the ACT RSPCA quickly attacked the credibility of the report and the decision by Defence to approach Wildcare to prepare the report.

As a result of this, Defence assembled a panel of independent experts to study the report provided by Wildcare and the expert panel came to the conclusion that a mix of translocation and reproductive intervention was the preferred course of action in this case.

Defence announced that they had accepted the report as the most humane solution to the overpopulation problem and put the process out to tender.

Wildcare did not tender for the project as it was beyond our financial resources as a volunteer group but did offer our expertise in dealing with wild kangaroos as well as a number of release sites from these animals to be translocated to.

In January 2008, Cumberland Ecology was appointed by Defence to carry out the translocation, as well as to euthanase animals that were sick, injured or too old to be successfully translocated, with a brief to leave 100 kangaroos at the site. This 100 includes 60 female kangaroos that are being used in a sterilisation experiment being conducted at the site, as well as 40 male kangaroos.

Cumberland Ecology began to prepare for the translocation project in January 2008 and was in consultation with Wildcare to organise the release sites as well as some volunteers to assist with the translocation.

Inspections of the release sites were underway and I was actually preparing to take some staff from CE to inspect a site on Monday, March 3. On Friday, February 29 we received a call from CE telling us that the translocation had to be stopped as the ACT Government had refused to grant an export license to move these kangaroos out of the ACT and demanding they be killed instead.

This decision was made based on the findings of a panel that decided that translocation was inhumane and it was far more humane to kill the kangaroos. The findings of the panel were based on very dated information, including the 14-year-old ACT Kangaroo management plan which ruled out translocation as being inhumane. This decision was made despite a lot of current data on translocation indicating it is very successful. A recent translocation of 250 kangaroos in Queensland had an over 95% success rate.

These are facts. The only thing stopping this translocation going ahead is the ACT government refusal to grant an export license. The infrastructure currently in place at the site is actually what is required for the translocation. The only difference is that as it stands now, the kangaroos will be killed with an injection of lethabarb once they are sedated rather than moved to pre-prepared sites, treated with long term medication to reduce stress and allowed to continue living. The cost of either process is very similar. The only difference is that as it stands now the result will be a very large hole full of poisoned kangaroos rather than these animals living out their lives in other areas where the landholders are happy to have them.

The only harm to come from translocation in this case is maybe a chief minister with a bruised ego.


Greg Tarlinton
Vice President

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22 Responses to Wildcare responds
imhotep imhotep 9:40 pm 18 Mar 08

A report published in 2007 (by Dr Mark Diesendorf) said that the national kangaroo population had been halved -down to 25 million- during the last 5 years. Assuming the figures are roughly correct, that equates to an average loss of 13,000 per day, many surely through hunger, disease and thirst.

Stressed animals do not pass away in their sleep, family by their side. They usually become too weak to keep up with the mob and collapse. The ever vigilant crows take their eyes while they are still alive. They may take several days to die. Nature is cruel.

In a town where a child can wait 5 hours to be treated in the emergency ward at our main hospital, in a world where many more than 400 children die of preventable disease every day, I believe that the fuss over ‘saving’ these 400 kangaroos says much about the misguided priorities of many of the protesters.

el el 6:50 pm 18 Mar 08

Sir Paul and things that hop.I thought he was in the process of ridding himself of such things although it seems pest eradication costs more in the UK than in Canberra.

THAT is absolutely GOLD! – Pool-room fersure!!!!

Ingeegoodbee Ingeegoodbee 11:59 am 18 Mar 08

The fact that a big slab of that land has been earmarked for public housing wouldn’t have anything to do with the opposition to anything being done there would it? I heard on the radio this morning that the reduction in roo numbers was needed before the remiations of toxic soil could take place so that the public slum housing could go up.

ant ant 4:27 pm 17 Mar 08

That’s looking almost like a poolroom comment, Wishuwell.

wishuwell wishuwell 3:56 pm 17 Mar 08

Sir Paul and things that hop.I thought he was in the process of ridding himself of such things although it seems pest eradication costs more in the UK than in Canberra.

ant ant 9:21 am 15 Mar 08

Good to have some real information, and it was very interesting. I’m a bit in two minds about it. Certainly if they were to use tranqs and injections to kill the roos, I’d be much more in favour of that. Shooting, even with the best shooters, isn’t always that quick, and the noise of the shooting would be very traumatic, as would be their friends and rellies dying violently around them.

However, if re-location is do-able, and there’s people ready to do it, then I guess, why not? I’m east of Canberra, near (I believe) where some of the re-location sites are planned. There are a lot of roos here, but at the moment they all look quite healthy. During the winter, in the drought, some of the biggest ones were looking quite baggy and spent a lot of time lying around. They’re quite territorial too, especially about their Wimmin, and the males spend a lot of time thumping each other.

The longer term plan to sterilise some seems a good way to go, too, as roos don’t suspend breeding activities when times are tough.

I often see roos on my lawns, eating away, and the joey in the pouch sticks his head out for a munch, too. and evidently they aren’t desperate yet, as they won’t eat the bloody clover.

Sina Sina 11:25 pm 14 Mar 08

It’s the human population which has caused the problem in the first place.

p1 p1 10:42 pm 14 Mar 08

Sterilisation sounds like a good option in the long term but I also a controlled human cull is needed in the short term.

Culling some of the human population is defiantly in order…

zee zee 7:01 pm 14 Mar 08

Inhumane slaughter of roos is awful, awful and nasty, and besides will have a huge economic impact on our live kangaroo trade with the middle east and global production of cuddly looney tunes cartoons where Sylvester gets beaten up by the boxing joey and its mum. I love those ones!

Mælinar Mælinar 1:40 pm 14 Mar 08

@FB around here you can stand in a Hawaiian shirt and make that comment.

Flame-retardant material is required for the other opinion.

FB FB 11:47 am 14 Mar 08

*dons fire proof suit before commenting*

Ok this might get me in trouble but I agree with the cull. Kangaroo’s are almost in plague proportions in a lot of places.

I have said this on RA before, my dad had a property near Bredbo where he lived for over 10 years. We never once saw a single rabbit on the property, we found evidence of wild pigs but never saw them. There were two foxes and occasionally you got glimpses of some feral goats. On any day you could find over 100 roo’s in his paddocks. Which is the real pest? I remember going around the property one year picking up the carcases of dozens of roos who had died of starvation or gotten caught in fences because they were weak. Not a pleasant task but one that makes you think. We found one female roo who was so thin and barley alive. When we investigated she had small joey that had already died. I would rather see roo’s culled than see that again.

Don’t get me wrong, I consider myself a little bit of a greenie and I’m definitely an animal lover, but I can’t see how relocating roo’s is going to help the situation in the long term. Eventually the population will grow in numbers in their new area and need to culled (after destroying some of the land). Also providing medication so they will be stronger & survive longer seems just stupid to me.

Sterilisation sounds like a good option in the long term but I also a controlled human cull is needed in the short term.

Tempestas Tempestas 11:01 am 14 Mar 08

But Thumper can we get the roos to target sonic’s car/backyard. That would be funny!

I can see it now, Sonic looking into Camera, kangaroo bouncing past, knocking him over. More bruises than just the ego then

Thumper Thumper 10:32 am 14 Mar 08

I will also add that, the bad guys here are not Peter Garrett or Paul ‘lay me down deadman’ McCartney.

The bad guys here are rapidly appearing to be our beloved Soviet circus, no matter how much they try and put the blame on Defence.

And using mael’s idea, if I where Chief of Defence, I’d just open a few gates, sit back and point out that roos don’t respect State and Territory boundaries.

Mælinar Mælinar 10:10 am 14 Mar 08

As I said on the other thread about the same issue

umm, why don’t they just open a gate at one end, head to the nearest school and get everybody to walk the site from the opposite end to the gate ?

No more roos, and kids have a fun day out not at school.

To satisfy the pedants, who will ask where the roos will go from there, I’ll also add thats what those famed ‘bush corridors’ are for – yeah right.

Thumper Thumper 10:06 am 14 Mar 08

For as much as I don’t want to see the roos shot and killed, I also don’t want to see them suffer in anyway.

If they could be moved in a humane way then I would be happy to see that happen.

However, i have doubts that it can be done, having seen how panicky roos can get.

If something was done 2-3 years ago we wouldn’t have this issue.

So, who is to blame for not doing anything then?

(I also like the bruised ego comment…)

Mælinar Mælinar 9:56 am 14 Mar 08

I like the bruised ego statement the best.

neanderthalsis neanderthalsis 9:41 am 14 Mar 08

Articulate and sensible approaches to the problem there Greg. Pity our esteemed civic leader, Chairman Stanhope and his red hoarde wont see sense on the issue.

dalryk dalryk 9:32 am 14 Mar 08

Without wanting to seem to crass about it, I still support the BBQ option. Sir McCartney may not approve, but if you’re going to kill something then you’d best make the most of the sacrifice.

Leaving a bunch of poisoned roos in a hole to rot strikes me as highly wasteful, they could be feeding our children instead. Won’t somebody think of the children?

p1 p1 9:22 am 14 Mar 08

“treated with long term medication” is a worrying proposal sounding much like those rotten parents who fill their kids with Ritalin.

Sounds more like a methadone program to me.

All this just serves to remind me that unless you actually go to each and every meeting, hearing, and debate related to any given news article, you have know idea of what the truth is.

Especially since some people that have been involved in such meetings, still cannot agree on the truth…

Duke Duke 9:02 am 14 Mar 08

Drug dependent kangaroos??? Are you mad???

“treated with long term medication” is a worrying proposal sounding much like those rotten parents who fill their kids with ritalin.

It’s bad enough joe-public-taxpayer is paying for all these expensive “humane” lethal injections when a .22 bullet would be quicker and cost only a few cents each.

No doubt the preferred .22 method would be used by the unfortunate farmer who soon finds his property over-run by relocated kangaroos.

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