Sterile koalas

July2019

I agree with “Sterilising works” as I personally saw the results of mass desexing of cats 30 years ago when Cats Assistance To Sterilise began.
The Cat Protection Society of SA supported this mass desexing and also used the service for our disadvantaged cats.
If CATS can achieve this success on a shoestring budget, why can’t the same be done for koalas?
Culling is despicable as animals grieve the loss of their babies , their mothers and their companions the same as we do.
To allow the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia to slaughter these defenceless animals is a disgrace on our politicians.
KATE CLAYTON, Cat Protection Society SA

Sterilising works

July 2019

Responding to the piece by Shaun Hollis: If the koala-sterilisation program on Kangaroo Island had been run as efficiently and cost-effectively as the “Desex and Return to Home” program by Cats Assistance To Sterilise, the koala problem on the island would have already been solved.
Records prove that when CATS began in the late 1980s the death rate of felines at the Animal Welfare League dropped to half within six years due to the prevention of breeding.
CATS has built up goodwill with more than 60 co-operating vets who donate their time to desex referred cats at cost, and trained volunteers who secure the cats for the operations. About 120,000 cats have now gone through the scheme.
Most importantly, the animals are returned to their point of collection.
Relocating the KI koalas was a massive mistake, as nearly a third of the 12,500 sterilised koalas were relocated to the South-East.
Using trained volunteers, experienced co-operating vets donating their time, and returning the koalas to their point of capture, is the answer to this problem.
It needs to be expanded.
Carol Patricia James

Native slaughter

July 2019
Recent letters from Neil Longbottom and Diane Cornelius expressing disgust at the extermination of unwanted native animals reflects, no doubt, the feelings of most of us.
This extermination (sanitised as culling), however, reflects the attitude of others who believe that the end justifies the means. This attitude allows for the destruction, the cutting down, the prosecuting and the slaughtering of obstacles that get in the way of their goals.
If we look deeply enough we see these goals are usually tied up with a financial profit or self-interest.
I ask that those in power turn their attention to finding another way of dealing with this situation. Sound long-term solutions are needed not heartless, ineffective quick fixes.
Rosemary Kerr

Threatened native animals

July 2019

Minister Whetstone’s refusal to try to protect a threatened native Rakali, and other aquatic mammals, as put forward by the Adelaide Hills Council, is shameful (Council fails in attempt to throw water rat a lifeline) How many animals must drown before their deaths are not considered “sustainable?” I am sure the Council is correct is saying deaths could be going unreported. These animals suffer as they drown, just because some people want to set yabby nets, but a drowning platypus is of no concern to the Minister. So who’s looking after our wildlife?

W Parsons

Killer quolls 

March 2019

How can Melissa Jensen say “I do everything I can to help the animals’ chances of survival” (“ Aiding life’s recovery in SA’s arid Outback“ ) when she promotes deliberately introducing killer quolls into the reserve to kill the bettongs. 
“Even though female quolls only weigh up to 1kg, they are still able to take down burrowing bettongs, which weigh up to 1.3kg,” says Ms Jensen. So just imagine the horrible death the bettongs would have. 
Feral cats kill quickly and efficiently with a sharp snap to the back of the neck so I would prefer to be killed by a cat. 
In any case, it is not the answer. 
If the bettongs are overbreeding because of the removal of the cats and foxes then it would be much better to control the breeding of the bettongs by humane desex-and return-to-home methods.
 It would have been much better to have left the cats and foxes alone and then the balance between the species would have remained, and the bettongs would not have been “eating themselves out of house and home” in the first place.

 Christine Pierson

Corella control 

March 2019
I was shocked to read of the suggestion of razing trees for corella control. 
At a recent meeting called by the Mt Barker Council re their corella “problem” , more sensible solutions were put forward . 
I can’t remember anyone suggesting razing trees. Such a shocking idea. 
Corella’s need open grasslands and so the projects by both the Mt Barker and Murray Bridge Councils include planting more shrubs and giving Corella’s “sacrificial” areas. They are areas of high trees and grasslands put aside for the Corella’s. Please keep the trees. All beings need them. 
 Alice Shore

Protect koalas

February 2019

Sadly, as we are all well aware, our koalas’ habitat is encroached upon by urban sprawl and our burgeoning human population.

Animal crossings need to be placed and built across/under the Southern Expressway, where koala deaths have increased – although “A cheaper, therefore more likely to be implemented, solution could be virtual fencing”; see wildlifesafetysolutions.com.au/

Perhaps our Conservation Minister, David Speirs, could look into this solution as something that he would be interested in promoting.

I know that he is open to our native animal conservation.

Worldwide Australia’s reputation for our unique, native species extinction is consistently dismal.

We need some positive political leadership to reverse the situation.

Diane Cornelius

Bird proofing

January 2019

The best way to bird proof a district is to look to the future, to be proactive and not reactive. Enlist the help of Landcare and Trees for Life volunteers to work collaboratively with councils and encompass the whole area, not just a selective pocket. Have a human development plan rather than a wildlife control plan.

In the past we have taken over their homes and now is the time to plant all beautiful native trees as Little Corellas have lived with them without destroying them for millennia.

Increase the density of trees and grew shrubs and ground cover as Corellas like to see 360 degrees to be safe from predation. Until then land and householders need to bird proof their houses as the Corellas are definitely here to stay, where else can they go? Give them a dedicated spot with a thin line of trees for lookouts to keep watch. Use fake birds that look like their predators on verandas and in the trees you want protected.

If the present flock is killed, the next one is waiting to move in. Don't fight them, learn to live and let live.

Diane Cornelius

Shooting native birds

December 2018

It is a very bad look for those in power to decide to shoot native birds, which are now a pest because their habitat has been destroyed and covered by ugly boxes on the hillsides, and concrete !! What an unimaginative and insensitive disgrace! 

There has already been proof that doing this achieves nothing, as these particular birds are very good breeders and parents!   It’s humans who have caused this problem, too many people plundering too much of the environment along with greedy developers getting anything they want out of governments and councils?!.

The planet has reached overshoot, pardon the pun, so what are humans going to do, destroy all the flora and fauna with which we should be sharing the world?  

Alex Hodges

Be on the lookout

October 2018

Australian Border Force should be given credit for successfully combating a current surge in smuggling native lizards out of Australia.

Smugglers have accounts on social media, using Facebook and Instagram sites to advertise lists of what’s wanted and possible prices.

End buyers are thought to be private collectors and zoos, where thousands of dollars can be paid for lizards stuffed in socks in cereal and chip boxes with legs taped. Be on the alert, everyone, for any part of this cruel destructive trade.

Helen Dowland

Koala's trees

July 2018

Though it is heartening to read that Viscount Weymouth and his wife, Emma, are helping to educate people overseas about the conservation of our koalas (“Our aristocratic koalas.”) it isn’t necessary to spend time and money on research to find a way to do it. Just stop cutting down their trees!

W. Parsons

Protect all animals

July 2018

I am responding to “Lizard’s lair puts the wind up energy giant” where a Mid North wind farm is being redesigned due to endangerment of a rare lizard. What a shame that we don’t consider the welfare of all animals of all species and only become concerned about their survival when they become rare.

The only animals that we don’t have to worry about are the ones that have already become extinct as they are no longer at risk of being used, abused and threatened by our cruel and destructive human species.

I care for all the animals that are still alive and we should be looking after them, like these lizards in their home territory where they are threatened by human development.

But let us also concentrate on a kinder world for all animals, not just the select few that are so called “rare”. It is very pleasing that the rare lizards are to be considered but we need to extend this protection to all species.

Christine Pierson

Send koalas and wombats to the U.K.

July 2018

We have just heard about the plan to send koalas and wombats to the U.K.  In our opinion, this is a disgraceful idea and these iconic, easily-stressed, fragile animals should be promoted here, in their natural environment !!!   Why should they be subjected to long air travel and freezing weather which they are not used to? Wombats travel many kilometres in their natural habitat and dig huge burrows. Are they going to be able to do that or will they be on constant display? Presumably, they won’t be able to hide in a burrow?

We recall the incident, some years ago, when koalas were sent to Japan or China, where they were placed in a glass cage, with one pole to climb up. These animals died of stress from being gawked at by humans, where they had nowhere to hide? We were absolutely horrified that these animals were “sacrificed” like that.

What is wrong with our country that we would send iconic animals to foreign, stressful situations when tourists should be coming here to see them?! Where is the imagination? Where is the duty of care?  This is so wrong.

Alex Hodges and family

Animals & NAIDOC week

July 2018

I love NAIDOC Week each year, from July 8 to 15, and respect and support Aboriginal people, their culture, art and food.

The event in the Rundle Mall, however, is anticipating having wildlife for children’s entertainment, which is unacceptable as baby animals suffer in noisy exhibitions, especially over long periods.

Koalas and kangaroos are particularly susceptible to stress and infection; many of them can be made ill or die from the traumatic experience of being handled by lots of children

Children can be taken to Cleland Wildlife Reserve if they want to see Australian animals, and they have hundreds of picture books and can watch TV shows depicting animals.

Today animals must be shown the respect that they too deserve.

Diane Cornelius

Sulphur crested cockatoos and galahs

May 2018

Birds such as sulphur crested cockatoos and galahs, are difficult to breed and are captured at a young age from the wild. In South Australia, it is legal to trap little corellas and galahs, and to take juveniles from nest hollows. However, the government admits: 
it is likely that a considerable proportion of birds taken in this manner die before reaching maturity. "

Regardless of whether they are wild-caught or captive-bred, a cage is not a fit home for a bird. However, capture from the wild produces even higher levels of stress.

Why cages are cruel:

  • All birds have evolved to fly, often over considerable distances. In captivity they can, at best, flutter from one perch to the next. In small cages they can't even do that.

  • The native species kept as pets are highly gregarious. In the wild, birds such as budgies, cockatoos, galahs, corellas, cockatiels, zebra and Gouldian finches are often found in large flocks, never alone. Yet in a cage they are often kept in solitary confinement.

  • Birds in the wild spend much of their time foraging for food. In a cage they have nothing to do. The parrot species have strong beaks for cracking hard materials, but in a cage there is nothing suitable to gnaw or crack.

Caged birds can develop abnormal behaviour as a result of frustration and boredom. For example, cockatoos and galahs can pull out their own feathers. They may also rock from side to side, bob up and down, screech frequently and become aggressive.

Diane Cornelius

Not a quoll lot of love

April 2018

Miles Kemp's article "Not a quoll lot of love for battling bettongs," was confusing. Dr Katherine Moseby, manager of the fenced 123sq klm Arid Recovery Reserve near Roxby Downs has reintroduced 1,500 bettongs who are among SA's most endangered species.

The western quoll is a natural predator of the fungivorous and insectivorous bettongs. These native animals including dingoes and kangaroos have been part of the landscape and have survived in Australia for millions of years and have not destroyed native vegetation.

Intensive animal agriculture is responsible for the destruction of their natural ecosystems. Introduced predators face death by cruel baiting which are surely a threat for our native animals as well. This proposition makes no sense.

Diane Cornelius

Native Animal Loss of habitat

March 2018

The beautiful photos of Hollywood superstar Chris Helmsworth with 'the local' wildlife, titled,"SA holiday snaps that are worth millions," highlights the importance of our unique native animals. Tourism Australia says the exposure has given our state more than $170 million in equivalent advertising.

Yet the elephant in the room is that our government is promoting the largest slaughter of native land animals in the world, our iconic kangaroos. Habitat for our koalas, in being bulldozed in Qld and NSW and the Great Australian Bite with its priceless marine sanctuaries and breeding grounds is under threat from huge mining companies. I wonder what the tourists will be able to see.

Diane Cornelius