Government ferals – time for a real clean out?

Although belated, the NSW Government’s decisive and swift axing of the NSW Game Council this week was a sensible action. Of course after reading the independent report it would have been apparent to the government that some fairly drastic action was required and if nothing else comes from the changes, some innocent animals get a two month reprieve from amateur hunting.

Also this week came news of studies on ocean bed sediment cores taken around the outlet of the Murray-Darling catchment seemingly confirming Professor Tim Flannery’s 20 year old theory about a dramatic increase in fires around the time mega-fauna went extinct. 

What many don’t appreciate is Flannery’s suggestion that the Aboriginals were behind the extinction of mega-fauna and today’s SMH has an article about a series called ‘First Footprints’, starting on ABC TV July 14, suggesting some mega-fauna were around much later than the 45,000 years generally accepted as the time of their demise.

There doesn’t seem to be much disagreement though because both scenarios are possible with extinctions in the areas Aboriginals first occupied that, as with the later European invasion, would have focused on the most fertile areas, although the first inhabitants did manage to maintain the animals that kept forests alive. Nowadays the most numerous large herbivores are the Swamp Wallabies (Wallabia bicolor) as in my first night-time shot below.

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Locally the Forestry Corporation have recently advised that they will be continuing their 1080 baiting campaign despite previously indicating that it would be reviewed, this is now proposed for the end of the year. However the issue with their program, much like amateur hunting is that it is not effective, as the blurred shot (a wallaby bumped it at some point throwing out the focus – cheap camera) of a fox demonstrates.

 

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So with a bit of luck there may be time to swing the government toward a different approach and to be sure of continuity I’m cobbling together a letter for the Hon Katrina Hodgkinson. Essentially to let her know the reasons why I’ll be working to complete the exclosure fence and sending her a letter from the previous Minister, disgraced and sacked Ian MacDonald, because not a lot has changed since 2009 and while the FC holds sway positive change is unlikely.

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