Wildlife carers slam proposal

A government department proposal to consider making it illegal for wildlife carers to rehabilitate native wildlife species deemed ‘over abundant’ has raised the ire of many local wildlife carers, rescuers and others concerned with animal welfare.
The proposal mooted on page 31 of DELWP’s current Review of the Authority to Control Wildlife discussion paper suggests making it illegal for wildlife carers to rehabilitate rescued, orphaned, sick or injured native animals belonging to species deemed to be ‘over abundant’.
The list of suggested ‘over abundant’ species that might be subject to such a caring ban includes kangaroos, possums, wombats and cockatoos.
While it’s slated as ‘outside the scope’ of the review at this stage, the proposal has outraged local wildlife carers and rescuers who say they provide a service the public expects.
Wildlife carers like Chewton Dingo Conservation Centre’s Tehree Gordon, Helen Round of Macedon Ranges’ Five Freedoms Animal Rescue, and wildlife rescuers like Maldon’s Ian Slattery are urging all concerned Victorians to make a submission to the review before the opportunity closes on June 29.
Mr Slattery is an experienced wildlife rescuer and says the proposal is ludicrous and flies in the face of the strong public demand for the services of wildlife carers and rescuers.
“They’re saying these species are overabundant but this is a really false premise,” Mr Slattery says.
“For years they’ve been saying that kangaroo populations are exploding however the methodology they use to estimate populations is highly flawed and inaccurate.
“The government department that has responsibility for protecting wildlife is the same department that issues the culling permits – and that’s insane.
“Australia has the highest rates of mammal extinction in the world and this (proposal) would exacerbate that and that’s a shameful and disgraceful indictment on us.”
Tehree Gordon of Chewton’s Dingo Conservation Centre says there’s a need for a strong unified voice from wildlife carers.
“I’m urging every Australian to consider making their voice heard,” Ms Gordon said.
“I think it’s absolutely essential. When you think of the massive bushfires we’ve had throughout the state, there are many areas where the wildlife is totally wiped out. There are areas that could be used to relocate wildlife and often the excuse is – ‘oh we don’t have a budget’.”
Ms Round said wildlife had been lumped into a mega department with conflicting interests.
“We ask everyone to contact Victorian parliamentarians and remind them that wildlife and wildlife volunteers are valued, that Australia has the highest rate of mammalian extinction on the planet and that all threatened and extinct species were once considered common and secure,” she said.

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