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All News Updates & Public Comment => Other (non-export) News => : WA Export News August 15, 2014, 07:53:08 PM

: What sort of bastard kills 150 wombats?
: WA Export News August 15, 2014, 07:53:08 PM
Wombats buried by logging in Glenbog State Forest in possibly deliberate marsupial massacre                 (   Ray Wynan is doing plenty of whinin’ about the way these cute little furry guys were treated by loggers. We’re with you, Ray. Pic: The Glenbog Blog Source: NewsComAu
THIS is a story of wombaticide, and the shocking allegations behind a marsupial massacre. It’s also a story about animals of the two-legged variety.

Earlier this week, it emerged that a logging operation in the Glenbog State Forest in southern New South Wales may have buried up to 150 bare-nosed wombats. This gross act of wombaticide occurred despite two dedicated locals marking wombat burrows so that loggers could avoid them.

     (   The Wynans marked wombat burrows on GPS. This shows just how wombatty the Glenbog Forest is. Pic: The Glenbog Blog Source: NewsComAu

Ray Wynan is a tradie who lives in the small town of Nimmitabel. He and his wife Marie are members of the Wombat Protection Society. They know the Glenbog Forest well, and marked burrows in the area which was to be logged with both high-visibility paint and fluoro marking tape so that loggers could avoid them.

Fat lot of bare-nosed good that did.

Not only did loggers fell the huge trees that uprooted the vegetation around burrows, thereby filling them with choking dirt that would have suffocated and killed the wombats, they even built a logging road right over the top of one burrow which had been GPS marked. Seriously, a road over a wombat burrow. Nice work, guys. Really top stuff.

     (   Pic: The Glenbog Blog Source: NewsComAu
Now originally, it appeared this may all have been an oversight on the part of the loggers. But there is now the strong suggestion that some of the destruction was deliberate.

“When Ray and Marie went into the forest to dig out burrows, they found marking tape removed and stuffed under logs,” claims Evan Quartermain from Humane Society International.

“It was almost in retaliation, like it had been intentionally done.”

Mr Quartermain says the loggers may have considered that the Wynans were making life too much of a “hassle” for the loggers, so they basically just said “stuff it”.
     (   Apparently this one was too hard to see too. Pic: The Glenbog Blog Source: NewsComAu contacted Liz Fowler, of the Forestry Corporation of NSW which manages the Glenbog Forrest but does not run the logging operation.

“We have read those allegations,” Ms Fowler responded. “Obviously those are serious allegations and we continue to investigate the suggestion that there was any deliberate action. It’s certainly not something we’re going to take lightly.”

According to Ms Fowler, there are around 2000 environmental rules which any forestry crew must follow before logging an area. These include things like avoiding streams and rocky outcrops and ceasing haulage activity around dawn and dusk, when animals like wombats are most active.
     (   It was a bad day for echidnas too. Pic: The Glenbog Blog Source: NewsComAu

The irony of this particular case is that the Forestry Corporation had actually consulted with concerned parties like the Wynans about marked burrows beforehand. Humane Society International even ran this as a positive story in its latest newsletter, which comes out today. That story has now reached its use-by date a lot quicker than anyone imagined.

But the much more tragic fact is that up to 150 wombats may have also reached their used-by dates long before they should have.

As HSI’s Evan Quartermain notes, wombat burrows only have one exit and entrance. There’s simply no way out when a burrow entrance is buried.

Wombat lover Marie Wynan made that point with much darker humour this week, saying that, unfortunately, wombats don’t have chainsaws to dig themselves out from underneath huge mounds of dirt and debris.
     (   Yes, that’s snow in the forest, by the way. Wombats thrive in cold climates. Pic: The Glenbog Blog Source: NewsComAu

One good piece of news is that Forestry Corporation yesterday agreed to instruct loggers to avoid one particular section of the Glenbog State Forest section which has an especially high density of wombat burrows.

Loggers in the Glenbog Forest and nearby state forests are not normally held to account if their activity inadvertently kills wombats as “collateral damage”, because bare-nosed wombats are not threatened, unlike their hairy-nosed cousins. contacted the contractor conducting logging operations in the Glenbog State Forest but we were unable to reach him. (