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5 red flags for wildlife in Victoria

Life on land

“Biodiversity forms the web of life that we depend on for so many things – food, water, medicine, a stable climate, economic growth, among others. Over half of global GDP is dependent on nature”. UN

Peter and Andrea Hylands

May 23, 2024

RED FLAG 1: Capture of public land

As of January 2025 commercial shooting of native wildlife will commence on public lands in Victoria, this will no doubt include State and National Parks. This has occurred, as forecast by the Nature Knowledge Channel, as result of the rapid decline in the population of native species being killed for commercial gain on private land.

This change will lead to a similar circumstance now being experienced by tourists and others keen to see Australian wildlife on Victoria’s wetlands, that is , the risk of fines and confrontation.

The mass killing of Australian wildlife in public places is also extremely dangerous as high powered rifles, not shotguns (also dangerous), will be used.

Commercial and mass killing of Australian wildlife on private land in Victoria occurs without any notification requirements regarding neighbours, often families with children who do not want this shooting, cruelty and killing occurring in their neighbourhoods and in very close proximity to their homes.

These changes are joined by a significant increase in the funding of what are descibed as compliance measures, more accurately described as supresion measures, which are largely aimed at discouraging complaints and complainants.

National Parks signage in Victoria - we can just call it a lie

RED FLAG 2: Capture of public land

It is now difficult to visit Ramsar sites and other wetlands in Victoria for peaceful pursuits during periods when duck shooting is occurring without the risk of threats and fines. In 2024 there has been a large increase in enforcement of silly regulations, including attempts to make it impossible to rescue injured birds from wetlands by imposing heavy fines, banning orders and other legal impediments.

Physical force is now being used on those not shooting birdlife in relation to so called ‘compliance’ measures and charges are being made based on suspicion rather than actual proof of any wrong doing by those not shooting birdlife.

The 2024 Victorian budget provides a significant increase for funding for ‘compliance’ to ensure shooting continues unhindered, supporting those individuals harming Australian wildlife while there was no funding for Wildlife Victoria, the state’s wildlife rescue organisation.

We can only feel deeply ashamed at the treatment of young people on Victoria's Ramsar sites trying to protect the environment and biodiversity so very important to their future. The treatment of the elderly is equally vile as they try to protect their legacy and responsibility to Planet Earth. One thing we can be certain of when it comes to the mass slaughter of birdlife on Ramsar sites in Victoria, age discrimination is not the issue.

RED FLAG 3: Out of control

In 2023 there was a significant increase in the number of native animals targeted by Authorities to Control Wildlife (ATCWs).

For lethal control of Australian wildlife in Victoria, 2,482 permits were issued to kill 119,367 native animals covering 57 native species. The number of native animals targeted for lethal control in 2023 was significantly higher than in 2021 (at 89,364) and 2022 (at 90,301 Australian mammals and birds covering 52 native species). For the first time in 2021 the Victorian Government provided a split between lethal and non-lethal permits. Just 2.6 per cent of the permits issued were for non-lethal control (not included in the data here).

We ask ourselves, why on earth would a government want to kill Purple Swamphens?

These numbers exclude the commercial and recreational killing of Australian wildlife in Victoria. In total around one million native animals are ‘targeted’ each year but as populations decline a smaller share are killed. All up about 100 native species are caught up in the slaughter.

RED FLAG 4: Out of control

In 2023 the non-commercial quota for Grey Kangaroos in Victoria, targeted by ATCWs, was exceeded by 4,850 animals. Just to ensure this slaughter is as unsustainable as possible the quota for Grey Kangaroos (non-commercial ATCWs) in 2023 was supposed to be 69,600, instead the Victorian Government issued permits to kill 74,450 of these wonderful animals.

The number actually killed using ATCWs will never be known as it is not recorded. Also by late May 2024 the commercial kill actuals for Grey Kangaroos (which are known because a tagging system is used) had still not been published for the full calendar year 2023. This means we do not have a clue about what the situation for Grey Kangaroos in the state looks like beyond the fact that it is likely to be dire.

RED FLAG 5: Wrong thinking, very bad education

Financial support from the Victorian Government to promote recreational fishing for children, yet more harm to the natural world which is a very long way removed from education. The scale of it matters as it suggests waste and a large scale impact.

“The State Government is keen to get more children outside and active, connecting with nature.” Victorian Government
“The kits included a fishing rod, reel with line, tackle box with some hooks, lead sinkers, swivels and a lure, as well as a Kids Guide to Fishing – all FREE!”. Victorian Government

What this means is yet more rubbish in Victoria’s waterways and wetlands including nylon fishing lines and lead weights (yes lead), more needless cruelty and killing and more entanglement of birds and other animals and more pollution of an already polluted wetland system.

“To make that happen the State Government committed $1.5m from the Recreational Fishing Licence Trust Fund to offer 60,000 Little Angler Kits to grade five primary school students across all of Victoria. The Government  boosted that commitment, and 95,000 Little Angler Kits were provided to students across the State”.

A good idea might be to teach young people to respect biodiversity and the environment by learning about species and their place in the ecosystem?

“Only Labor will invest in Victorians’ favourite pastimes – because only Labor will do what matters.” Premier Daniel Andrews, 16 November 2022

Little Anglers Kits represent a relatively small amount of government expenditure, but with the potential to do significant harm.

Nature Knowledge: How we educate young people on Ramsar sites and other wetlands. Showing the way in education and the natural world, Andrea Hylands, Takayuki Musha (Deputy Chair) and Reiko Nakamura, Secretary General, Ramsar Centre Japan in Hokkaido. Andrea, Nature Knowledge Channel, Takayuki san and Reiko san are also renowned naturalist history writers and content makers.
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