Author Topic: The cruel killing of wombats by Aussie landowners.  (Read 5069 times)

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The cruel killing of wombats by Aussie landowners.
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2014, 07:32:51 PM »
Law changes needed to stop cruel killing of wombats by landowners: Wombat Awareness Organisation   
  • Jordanna Schriever 
  •   The Advertiser 
  • September 05, 2014 12:00AM
  1      Farmer Vince Critchley with rescued wombat Noah at Rockleigh. Picture: Simon Cross height=366   Farmer Vince Critchley with rescued wombat Noah at Rockleigh. Picture: Simon Cross 
        Wire near a wombat burrow. The wire has now been removed. height=421   Wire near a wombat burrow. The wire has now been removed. 

WOMBATS are being buried alive by landholders barricading their burrows, which is suffocating them underground, according to an organisation established to protect the animals.
Brigitte Stevens, from the Wombat Awareness Organisation, is calling for legislation to protect the burrows of southern hairy-nosed wombats and prevent the furry natives from being suffocated to death.

She said the latest reports of wombats being buried alive occurred last week at a property near Cambrai, about half an hour south-east of Angaston, where burrows appeared to have been filled in and wire placed near their entrances.

“Because they are not protected, there’s nothing really that can be done,” she said.

She said it was “virtually impossible” to prove wombats had been buried alive, because it would require entering private property to dig out of burrows — something she was not allowed to do without permission.

“It takes up to 21 days for them to suffocate and die, which is really horrible,” she said.

While destruction permits to control wombat populations can be obtained, but the permits call for adults to be humanely shot, not buried alive

Landholders may only apply for destruction permits for wombats if non-lethal measures — such as marking the location of active burrows, installing wombat gates in fences and making changes to fencing — have been tried and have not been successful.

Dairy farmer Vince Critchley, who rents the land to the Wombat Awareness Organisation and its 40 wombats, said the few farmers who act inappropriately towards the wombats and fill in burrows were giving others a bad reputation.

“This is something that could hurt our export markets,” he said.

“If a customer in Belgium or Japan sees that’s the way we treat our natives, it could impact upon our chances of selling to those markets, it produces a bad image of everyone, not just those who are responsible.

“I find it really disappointing that somebody would actually do that.”

Mr Critchley, who has been farming for more than 25 years, said the wombats caused less destruction than kangaroo populations, ate less grass than sheep and kept rabbits and foxes away.

Natural Resources SA Murray-Darling Basin district manager Justin Holmes said staff, including a southern hairy-nosed wombat expert, had visited the properties to investigate the allegations but found “disturbance in the ground consistent with the removal of a stump”.

But Ms Stevens said photos taken of the same property during last summer’s fires showed the same burrows, and no stump that needed to be removed.

Mr Holmes said new fencing work on the property was “wombat-friendly” and “a good example of a landholder living with wildlife”.

“One entrance to the burrow system had some wire nearby, but it was not preventing wombat movement,” he said.
“Wherever possible, landholders are encouraged to live with wombats and to recognise the importance of conserving the species in South Australia,” he said.

“However, wombat burrows can damage farm infrastructure such as buildings, fences and water tanks, and create significant hazards for machinery in fields which pose safety risks to operators.”