Monday, March 14, 2011

Wildlife Bytes 15/3/11

Leading Stories


Federal Police have again raided Sea Shepherd ships despite repeated failures to find legal grounds to pursue the anti-whaling group at Japan's request. For the fourth year in a row, the police yesterday began an investigation into Sea Shepherd, following the Southern Ocean clashes with the Japanese whaling fleet over the summer. This came despite advice there was insufficient evidence to prosecute in the only investigation yet finalised, and admissions by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade that it has exhausted legal avenues to ban the ships. The Greens leader, Bob Brown, said officials were being pressured by the Japanese government to act against Sea Shepherd, and he urged the Foreign Affairs Minister, Kevin Rudd, to lodge a complaint with Tokyo. Sea Shepherd's flagship, Steve Irwin, and the group's long-range vessel, Bob Barker, docked in Hobart after forcing the whaling fleet to withdraw from the Antarctic halfway through its season having taken less than one-fifth of its quota. ''I'm actually quite convinced, about 75 per cent certain, that they won't be back again,'' the group's leader, Paul Watson said. ''But if they are we will be ready to go back.''

He said in each of the past seven Antarctic campaigns, Sea Shepherd's operations grew stronger, while the heavily subsidised whaling fleet's capacity declined under the weight of financial pressures from Tokyo. The fisheries agency of Japan regards the prospect of returning to the Antarctic as ''extremely gloomy'', according to the national newspaper, Yomiuri Shimbun. However, no public statement of permanent withdrawal has been made by the Japanese government. Declassified government documents obtained under freedom-of-information laws by Senator Brown show that Australia has repeatedly acted against the group at Japan's request under the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against Safety of Maritime Navigation. The police confirmed it had received referrals to investigate incidents in the past four seasons. Its 2007-08 investigation focused on clashes between the Steve Irwin and whale chaser Yushin Maru No. 2. ''These matters were finalised on September 21, 2009, following advice from the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions that there was insufficient evidence to commence a prosecution,'' a police spokeswoman said. She said investigations into seasons 2008-09 and 2009-10 were continuing. *Brusseton Mail


Car stickers suggesting people should eat koalas have outraged environmental groups, the RSPCA and politicians. The stickers feature a black knife and fork crossing over the top of the Redland City Council's colourful koala logo with the words Save The Redlands ... Eat a Koala. The stickers and slogan sparked debate on Fairfax Radio 4BC, prompting Cleveland MP Mark Robinson to phone in and condemn them. "I talked about the importance of koalas to our area and that they are in decline and we need to look for ways to mitigate the human impact on them," Mr Robinson said. "We need to find better ways for koalas and humans to coexist in the Redlands without stopping development and growth." Sticker designer and businessman Graham Parker said he designed the tongue-in-cheek slogan to make Redland City Council take notice of the "dying breeds of businesses" in the area, south-east of Brisbane. "The stickers I have been making are a protest against the council's single focus on koalas and lack of interest in protecting businesses," Mr Parker said.

"The eat-a-koala stickers are not meant to encourage people to eat the furry little critters, they are just highlighting the other extreme and opposite point of view to the council's. "Redland City Council spent $193,000 on a koala communication strategy which included a Facebook page and a communication officer but only $170,000 of council's economic development budget was allocated for business retention and expansion. "The council bangs on about [Facebook star] Pan Da Koala, who died of disease, but it has spent no money on disease research." RSPCA Queensland spokesman Michael Beatty said he had received about 15 complaints about the stickers, which he claimed were a political ploy. "These stickers are very irresponsible and are sending out the wrong message, which is contrary to the message from all the conservation groups and animal welfare organisations, such as the RSPCA," Mr Beatty said.

"We're trying to protect the koalas and I would imagine a great deal of the Redland community would be in favour of protecting the koala too. "The RSPCA has been working to instil in younger generations some sort of empathy towards animals and this sticker debases our efforts. "I'm presuming some idiot who thought it up thinks it's funny but it's not. "It's just a political ploy that is going to backfire." Redland Mayor Melva Hobson said the stickers were "reprehensible and in extremely bad taste". "Fortunately, we know from all our surveys that most Redland residents treasure and want to protect our urban koalas and believe they add enormously to the special place that is the Redlands," she said. "I reject the inference that the council has got the balance between development and the environment wrong." The mayor said the council's total budget for economic development activities for 2010-11 was $1.3 million, which included wages. * Bayside Bulletin


We regret not being able to issue last weeks Wildlife Bytes, but I was in Melbourne meeting with local groups about wildlife issues. It seems that some of the issues of concern include mismanagement of our National Park Estate, animal welfare issues relating to Indigenous hunting, and Melbourne City Council wanting to eradicate possums from the Melbourne Parks. We also did quite a bit of work on the commercial kangaroo kill. One thing that is perfectly obvious is the sad state of our wildlife. While we all continue to work on issues relating to koalas, kangaroos, flying foxes, possums etc etc, the big picture for all our wild creatures is extremely grim. Many people we spoke to thought we needed to focus on "wildlife" holistically, rather than focusing on one species at time. But we are not superpeople, we are all just ordinary Australians trying our best to protect our wildlife from the ravages of an uncaring political system based on greed, incompetance, and corruption. There are a multitude of wild species populations out there that are in very poor shape, including invertebrates, marine species, small and large reptiles, and many others that are not so cute and cuddly, so they dont get the attention they deserve. After all, if we cant save the koalas, what hope is there for woodlice? The article below raises some frightening scenarios. *

Are humans causing a mass extinction on the magnitude of the one that killed the dinosaurs? The answer is yes, according to a new analysis - but we still have some time to stop it. Mass extinctions include events in which 75 percent of the species on Earth disappear within a geologically short time period, usually on the order of a few hundred thousand to a couple million years. It's happened only five times before in the past 540 million years of multicellular life on Earth. (The last great extinction occurred 65 million years ago, when the dinosaurs were wiped out.) At current rates of extinction, the study found, Earth will enter its sixth mass extinction within the next 300 to 2,000 years. "It's bittersweet, because we're showing that we have this crisis," study co-author Elizabeth Ferrer, a graduate student in biology at the University of California, Berkeley, told LiveScience. "But we still have time to fix this." Others aren't so optimistic that humans will actually do anything to stop the looming disaster, saying that politics is successfully working against saving species and the planet. * Foxnews
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A Gold Coast man is dead after a shotgun accidentally fired into his chest while he was driving. It's believed the victim, 51, was on a shooting trip with his friends and the gun was registered. He died at the scene before an ambulance arrived. The accident occurred at Linville, near Kilcoy, northwest of Caboolture, about 8pm yesterday. Police investigators said three other men were with him when the gun went off but there were no suspicious circumstances and no other injuries. *Courier Mail Ed Comment; We have to wonder what sort of a hunter would put a loaded shotgun in a vehicle with the barrrels pointing towards him. And what was he hunting with a shotgun anyway?

Nuclear Winter?

The fuel rods in the number two reactor at a quake-damaged nuclear power plant in Japan are again "fully exposed", officials said, boosting fears of an eventual partial meltdown. Air pressure inside the reactor at the Fukushima No.1 plant, located 250 kilometres north of Tokyo, rose suddenly when the air flow gauge was accidentally turned off, operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) said. That blocked the flow of cooling water into the reactor, leading to full exposure of the rods at around 11pm last (1.00am AEDT), TEPCO said. The 4m fuel rods were exposed to the air to a length of 3.7 metres. Water was later pumped back into the reactor, so the danger was unlikely to get worse in the short term, the company said. "We are not optimistic but I think we can inject water once we can reopen the valve and lower air pressure," a TEPCO official told reporters. * Yet there are still people (and politicians) in Australia who support the use of nuclear energy.


U.S. scientists using sound say they have made a significant discovery that sheds new light on the wintering grounds of the Pacific humpback whale. Researchers from the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the primary humpback breeding ground for the North Pacific was always thought to be the main Hawaiian Islands, reported Wednesday. However, scientists recording whale songs have discovered these breeding grounds extend all the way throughout the Hawaiian Archipelago and into the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, also known as the Leeward Islands, a chain of small islands and atolls stretching thousands of miles northwest from the island of Kauai. An endangered species once near extinction, between 8,500 and 10,000 whales migrate to Hawaii each winter, while other humpback populations can be found in Taiwan, the Philippines, the Mariana Islands and Baja California. Marc Lammers, a researcher at HIMB, said, "These findings are exciting because they force us to re-evaluate what we know about humpback whale migration and the importance of the (Northwestern Hawaiian Islands) to the population."

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NT Blasting Questioned

The Northern Territory Environment Centre is calling on the Territory Government to tell the Japanese gas company Inpex it cannot set off explosive charges in Darwin Harbour. The centre says it is disappointing that Inpex did not rule out the option of blasting when updating recreational fishermen on its gas plant plans yesterday. The centre's Stuart Blanch says he still hopes the Government will tell Inpex it must use an alternative way to remove the Walker Shoal rock outcrop from its shipping channel. "I think they would come up with a no blasting option if Paul Henderson said: 'You will not blast our dolphins'," he said. "There are options on the table that if Inpex were made to put their mind to it I think they could come up quickly with a no blasting option."

Hanging Rock Wildlife

Wildlife volunteers want assurances there will be no killing of native wildlife at Hanging Rock and surrounds. Wildlife Network spokeswoman Fiona Corke said a call by a Macedon Ranges councillor to bring in help from the Department of Sustainability and Environment, Parks Victoria and Melbourne Water was not justified. At a previous council meeting, Cr Morabito called for council to bring in outside agencies because of the “alarming increase in numbers of kangaroos and wombats on private land”. However, the motion lapsed when it was not seconded. Cr Morabito had put up the same motion in May, but that was also defeated. He said wombats suffering mange and a boom in kangaroo numbers in the shire were problems, and outside agencies should be consulted on what to do about the problem. He said he wasn’t calling for a cull and criticised wildlife carers. “These people who purport to be animal lovers let these animals suffer and do nothing about it,” Cr Morabito said. But Ms Corke said a management plan was not necessary. “I don’t know why you’d kill the native animals that are contracting mange rather than the feral, introduced animals that are spreading it,” she said. Ms Corke said if any landholder had a problem with wombats or kangaroos on their property they should call the wildlife network. “We have a lot of knowledge and expertise in the shire and I’d like Cr Morabito to come to us before seeking outside help,” she said. *Macedon Ranges Leader


A cricket plague has hit South Australia, but most are expected to hop until they drop within two weeks. Large numbers of the harmless insects have been seen throughout the state, including Adelaide's CBD. University of Adelaide entomology lecturer John Jennings said the explosion only happened once in about 50-100 years. "The conditions have been perfect for the crickets since last autumn when they laid their eggs," he said. "More than usual survived and they have thrived in the moderate conditions." He said he had never seen cricket numbers so high in SA. "It's uncommon to see crickets like this. You see it with other animals, like mice. "The crickets will probably die-off when there is some rainfall or a change in the moderate weather. I wouldn't expect them to come back like this next year." *Adelaide Now

NMIT Kangaroos

Krystal Demenna was devastated to find a dead joey at her parents’ rural Beveridge property last month. The Demenna’s Merriang Rd home is about 4km north-west of Eden Park, where the Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE has a permit to shoot 300 eastern grey kangaroos living on its Northern Lodge stud farm. Ms Demenna believes the lone joey died as a result of the cull. “They must have killed the mother because it (the joey) looked healthy,” she said. “I saw two wedgetailed eagles landing in the back paddock and I went to see what they were doing. “There was this little dead baby kangaroo. It was still warm and soft.” Ms Demenna said kangaroos used to gather in mobs of about 60 every evening at her parents’ home, but over the past two months the numbers had dropped. “They were a talking point; we had people coming here just to watch the kangaroos,” Ms Demenna said. “It’s very sad and I’m angry because I know they are shooting for no reason. They’ve (kangaroos) never damaged the property or our fences.” *Whittlesea Leader

Whittlesea Council fired off letters to the State Government and Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE last Wednesday asking a moratorium be placed on the culling of 300 kangaroos at Eden Park. West Ward councillor Frank Merlino, who prompted the action at the February 22 council meeting, said the council would wait for Environment Minister Ryan Smith’s response before investigating further options. “We’ve had a very strong response from the community and getting a moratorium on the culling is the most important thing,” Cr Merlino said. “It all depends on the information we get from the minister and from the (NMIT) board. “Hopefully we can look at options other than shooting.” Last month, Cr Merlino moved that the council investigate the possibility of taking over the 320ha Northern Lodge stud farm and turning it into a wildlife reserve.

His plan to review the council’s planning approval processes - to include provisions for wildlife relocation before development - was also passed unanimously. Northern Metropolitan Greens MP Greg Barber said the Department of Sustainability and Environment had issued countless unsubstantiated wildlife cull permits across Victoria before the Eden Park case. Through Freedom of Information, Mr Barber has asked for details of three cull permits, including Eden Park’s, and wants to initiate a state-wide reform. “There is no criteria for the issuing of wildlife destruction permits; they seem to be handed out willy-nilly,” he said. “The (permit) conditions are inconsistent from region to region.” He plans to start a formal debate once his Freedom of Information request is processed. *Whittlesea Leader

Kangaroo Research

Kangaroos used in a university experiment will be caged and suffer extreme distress from confinement, Animal Liberation says. The University of Wollongong will keep kangaroos in a cage 1m by 1.3m by 1.7m for nine months to measure the methane gas they expel, Animal Liberation executive director Mark Pearson said. "For the NSW State Government to approve such a pathetic experiment for someone's PhD on global warming is unconscionable," Mr Pearson said. "The same experiment was done 40 years ago." Professor Steve Garlick, a specialist in kangaroo rehabilitation, said the kangaroos were gentle, affectionate, free ranging social animals that lived on a diet of certain grasses and dirt. "This proposed experiment denies the kangaroo these basic needs and is therefore cruel in the extreme," he said. "The result is that the animal will be highly stressed in its confinement and will be subject to a range of disease and illness which will make survival unlikely and the research project totally flawed." But university spokesman Bernie Goldie said no decision had yet been made by the ethics committee about using kangaroos for an experiment. "The matter is still under consideration," Mr Goldie said. "The university fully abides with the various government regulation in place in regards to the use of animals." *

Ed note; this story ran also in SMH, TheAge, The Australian, Yahoo News, PerthNow, Courier mail, Brisbane Times and Adelaide Now! But then......

A controversial animal trial at the University of Wollongong has been abandoned after the student behind the experiment cancelled his research, after widespread criticism. The State Government recently approved funding for a Wollongong PhD student to confine wild kangaroos and possibly wombats to cages measuring 1m by 1.3m by 1.7m for up to nine months, to measure the methane gas they expel. The Mercury understands the experiments were going to be used as part of a wider study on global warming. A university spokesman yesterday said a meeting of UOW's animal ethics committee, scheduled this month to determine the future of the project, had been cancelled. "The meeting has been cancelled as the researcher involved has withdrawn his application for the project," the spokesman said. "If the project had got to the committee stage, they would have had to consider the possibility of kangaroos and wombats being used as part of the research work. "The committee is comprised of people from the university as well as off-campus representatives from WIRES, the RSPCA and veterinary clinics. If it had gone through to the committee, due consideration would be made." Animal Liberation executive director Mark Pearson said the decision was a breakthrough for animal rights. "The experiment was going to be extremely cruel to those animals involved and it was certainly a very flawed piece of research," he said. "Not often are experiments exposed like this. "It shows that the structures and methods that the State Government's ethics committees have in place are flawed and do not meet the requirements of animal welfare that the public expects." *Illawarra Mercury

Roadkill Menu

When they first discussed dubbing their Wednesday evening menu ''Roadkill Night'', the owners of the Royal Mail on Spencer hotel in West Melbourne admit they were hesitant. ''It's not exactly politically correct,'' says co-owner Anna Lidgerwood, ''but it gets people talking, and they do want to try something a bit different.'' How different? Try a plate of camel sausages with mash ($17), an emu burger with the lot ($16) or ostrich filet mignon ($31). Wallaby, mutton bird, possum, venison, crocodile, goat and wild boar all turn up on the menu, as well as Cape Barren goose, the relatively mundane kangaroo, and today's colourful special, pheasant. The term ''roadkill'' is, mercifully, tongue-in-cheek but most of the meat dished up has been caught in the wild, just as our hunter-gatherer forebears used to do. And it's fresh. Royal Mail co-owner Peter Moore is a pilot, and flies regularly across Bass Strait to Flinders Island or north to places such as Wycheproof's Glenloth Game to collect delicacies.

One of the pioneers was Ken Lang, who started Yarra Valley Game Meats in 1984. These days, he says, thanks to the ever-broadening Australian palate and the influx of Mediterranean, Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine, game is booming. Mr Lang started off supplying venison, in between work as a bricklayer. His range has expanded to goat, camel, emu, duck, wild boar, rabbit, hare and kangaroo. The roo comes from interstate, which frustrates him. ''In Victoria the rule is no native fauna can be harvested for commercial gain,'' he says. ''Many, many kangaroos are culled each year, but they can't be utilised. It's a terrible waste.'' It's all the more frustrating with the floods up north restricting supply at the moment. But other meat is in demand. ''Wild rabbit has always been popular, but now there's great interest in hare, duck, pheasant and guinea fowl. Wild boar is slowly picking up too.''

Game meat has a number of fashionable qualities: it's high in protein, low in fat, and has a small carbon footprint because it has fed on whatever plants and water nature provided. ''It's the ultimate free-range,'' says Matt Fowles, a winemaker and keen hunter. He and his wife, Luise, launched the label Ladies Who Shoot Their Lunch, an award-winning wine finessed to match the strong flavours of game. ''Increasingly, people want to understand the provenance of their food,'' Mr Fowles says. If you want evidence of game's growing popularity, just look at the number of books dedicated to it, he says. ''Fifteen years ago you could not a find a game cookbook. In the last couple of years we've seen this surge.'' Mr Fowles is presenting a dinner, Two Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest, at this month's Melbourne Food & Wine Festival with Sarti chef Riccardo Momesso, aiming, he says, to bring some sanity to the debate about hunting.

''Everyone who eats meat should confront the reality,'' he says. ''We make sure our equipment is well maintained and it's a safe shot so the animal doesn't suffer. To my mind, it's more honest than going to a supermarket shelf.'' Game Dinner, Wednesday, March 9, Royal Mail on Spencer, West Melbourne. Two Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest, Wednesday, March 9, Sarti, city. The Sunday Age is a sponsor of the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival. *Sunday Age

Eastern Cougar Extinct

Many locals swear they've seen a cougar in the wild of Western North Carolina mountains, but the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has news for them: the big cat is offiicially extinct. The eastern cougar has been on the endangered species list since 1973, but that has never slowed alleged sightings. Sometimes called catamount, puma, panther or mountain lion, Eastern cougars had largely disappeared from the wild by the late 1800s. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service conducted a formal review and in a report issued today concluded the eastern cougar is extinct. The service also recommends the subspecies be removed from the endangered species list. “We recognize that many people have seen cougars in the wild within the historical range of the eastern cougar,” Martin Miller, the service’s Northeast Region Chief of Endangered Species, said in a press release. “However, we believe those cougars are not the eastern cougar subspecies. We found no information to support the existence of the eastern cougar.”

Reports of cougars observed in the wild examined during the review process described cougars of other subspecies, often South American subspecies, that had been held in captivity and had escaped or been released to the wild, according to the press release. Some were wild cougars of the western United States subspecies that had migrated eastward to the Midwest. During the review, the service received 573 responses to a request for scientific information about the possible existence of the eastern cougar. It also extensively reviewed U.S. and Canadian scientific literature and requested information from the 21 States within the historical range of the subspecies. No states expressed a belief in the existence of an eastern cougar population. Mark McCollough, the Service’s lead scientist for the eastern cougar, said the subspecies of eastern cougar has likely been extinct since the 1930s. In 2007, several residents of West Asheville reported seeing a cougar, but no hard evidence emerged. At the time, Gary Peeples, spokesman for the Asheville office of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, said the only evidence anyone turned in was a photo, and that turned out to be a bobcat.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park also had hired biologists to search for evidence of cougars in the mountains, but none has turned up any evidence. In 2007, park spokesman Bob Miller said "...the fact is we've never been able to sustain that we have a breeding population." The Fish & Wildlife Service did the review as part of its obligations under the Endangered Species Act. It will prepare a proposal to remove the eastern cougar from the endangered species list, since extinct animals are not eligible for protection under the Endangered Species Act. The proposal will be made available for public comment. In its press release, the service stated this decision has no bearing on the status of the Florida panther, another wild cat subspecies listed as endangered. Though the Florida panther once ranged throughout the Southeast, it now exists in less than five percent of its historic habitat and in only one breeding population of 120 to 160 animals in southwestern Florida. Additional information about eastern cougars, including frequently asked questions and cougar sightings, is at: Find information about endangered species at

GBR Damage

Powerful cyclone Yasi caused patchy but severe damage to Australia's famed Great Barrier Reef when it tore through last month, with some areas little more than rubble, scientists said on Monday. But while pockets of centuries-old coral was destroyed and recovery may take decades, most of the damage was confined to areas with so little tourism that many of the reef sites don't even have names, with major areas spared. The assessment, carried out by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Authority (GBRMPA) and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, surveyed 36 reefs or some 300 km (186 miles) of the 2,400 km-long reef that makes up the popular tourist site, which contributes billions of dollars to Australia's economy annually. "There were some reefs that were very severely damaged, in some of those areas there was hardly a coral left alive and big places of coral rubble and broken plates that had been ripped off the reef," said Paul Marshall, GBRMPA assessment co-ordinator. "That was pretty heart-wrenching, to see just how some of these areas have been affected. Some of these areas were coral gardens I knew quite well and now they're just reduced to rubble."

Yasi was rated a maximum-strength category five storm and was roughly the size of Italy. While corals known as "bommies" or coral heads are generally more robust, Marshall said that during the course of the survey they came across broken bommies, some up to 4 metres (13 ft 1.4 in) wide, lying on the ocean bed. "You start to imagine the force that must have been happening underwater," he said. The good news was that damage was quite patchy, with neighbouring reefs and coral structures in some cases remaining relatively unscathed, which will help foster rebuilding of the severely damaged areas.
Signs of recovery should start to emerge in about five years, but it will take more than 20 years to get good coral cover and some damage to the reef may take quite a lot longer to repair, Marshall added. He and his colleagues were also concerned about the potential impact from the devastating Queensland flooding that came in the months before Yasi, with toxic, pesticide-laden sediment carried out to the reefs stressing or damaging the fragile coral.

Though tourist areas near places such as Cairns escaped damage despite Yasi passing through them, a much larger threat remains due to global warming, which could lead to further devastating cyclones such as Yasi and the massive 2009 Cyclone Hamish, which had gusts of up to 295 km (183 miles) an hour. "If you look at the track of the last five major cyclones for the Great Barrier reef you do see a fair bit of overlap -- all affect similar areas, so some of these reefs have copped a 'triple whammy' from cyclones in the last couple of years," Marshall said. "With climate change the whole regime of disturbance is going to change, so we're very concerned these cumulative effect of disturbance after disturbance." The Great Barrier Reef (GBR.L) contains an abundance of marine life and comprises of over 2,000 individual reef systems and coral cays as well as hundreds of picturesque tropical islands. It contributes A$5.4 billion to the Australian economy every year from fishing, recreational use and tourism. *Reuters

440,000 Kangaroos Campaign, A call for the total ban of all kangaroo products across the European Union.

For Overseas Readers in the European Union, please support this Petition. Cause Petition is here

Please write to EU in support of our petition being read on Wednesday 16 March. Send to: Erminia Mazzoni, the Chairwoman of the Petitions Committee:

Dear Erminia Mazzoni, Chairwoman EU Petitions Committee
Reference:- On Wednesday 16 March 2011, Petition 1447/2009 will be tabled for discussion calling for a ban on all kangaroo products in EU. I want your vote to say "YES in favour of the ban."

As a concerned citizen, I am concerned that kangaroo products are available throughout the 27 Member States with no regard for the fate of at least 440,000 baby kangaroos, who are violently ripped from their dead or dying mother’s pouch, only to have their heads bashed in with a blunt object. I also lodge my concern that the young-at-foot babies face a slow death through dehydration, starvation and predation, once the mother is killed. In 2009 the adult kangaroos killed were estimated to be approximately 1.9 million which according to the kangaroo industry would mean some 20 per cent were females with babies. This means almost 800,000 baby animals were killed as a "by-product" of the industry. It is worth noting that the recent Seal ban brought in to protect seals referred to 330,000 animals. We are asking the ban to protect more then double number of kangaroo babies.

This appallingly cruel situation, whereby the biggest slaughter of wildlife land mammals is allowed to continue, is completely unacceptable to me as a caring citizen. Sports footwear companies are some of the biggest users of kangaroo skin. These companies (with the exception of NIKE*) are aware of the suffering of baby kangaroos but still continue to support the kangaroo killing industry in my country.

* NIKE stated in the press in 2010 that they were to "eradicate" kangaroo skins from their sports footwear as other materials were available.

These companies and those who profit from using kangaroo skin, have a commercial advantage over those who don't, as the public is not informed. Manufacturers and importers of kangaroo skin and products do not need to label their products as such and do it purely voluntary, which means that as a member of the public, I may not know what I am buying, which puts me at a disadvantage. Kangaroo meat products are of equal concern to me from a health and hygiene point of view in as much as there is clear evidence to show that kangaroo meat carries the parasitic disease toxoplasmosis, E.coli and salmonella bacteria, which would be harmful to my health. Initial tests carried out in Australia for the banned preservative E220 (Sulphur Dioxide) are starting to show up in some tested samples. This has great risk potential for all asthma sufferers who happen to eat kangaroo meat. On the 1st of August 2009 Russia placed a ban on all kangaroo meat for these very same reasons, yet the EU allows kangaroo meat across its borders without, it would seem, any proper control.

For these and other reasons, I request that you offer the same protection to baby kangaroos as you do to seals. I fully and without condition, support the ban calling for the prohibition of kangaroo products namely but not exclusively:-

1. Any Kangaroo product (meat, skin, finished other products) from entering the EU from third countries like Indonesia, Australia and others

2. The restriction of trade in all kangaroo products and especially in the case of football boots.

I call on you as my elected MEP to "Vote YES in favour of the ban" at the committee meeting on Wednesday 16 March 2011 I look forward to hearing of your support of Petition 1447/2009.

Yours sincerely


Wildlife Flood and Storm Appeal

Wildlife Protection Association of Australia Inc has set up a Donation Fund, where people who wish to donate to help flood-affected wildlife can do just that. Any moneys donated to this Fund will only be provided to non government funded wildlife carers groups or individuals who are actively working on helping wildlife flood victims, orphaned or injured. Funding will be provided to wildlife carers for fuel to get into the flood affected areas, and for wildlife food, over the next months. If you would like to help the wildlife flood and cyclone victims you can donate here, tax-deductible within Australia. Donate here.....