tagged w/ ACT Government killing orphaned kangaroos
Photo: 'UNDER THREAT' - An orphaned Joey lies in a makeshift pouch.
A NSW animal welfare group is taking legal action in a bid to stop the ACT Government killing orphaned kangaroos.
Queanbeyan's Wildcare group has taken the Government to the Civil and Administrative Tribunal over its decision to revoke the group's licence to rescue orphaned joeys and take the animals to its sanctuary across the border. Documents tendered to the tribunal show the Government changed its mind over the scheme, citing its longstanding opposition to any removal of eastern grey kangaroos from the territory.
The Government was embroiled in a bitter dispute with animal rights activists last year over its cull of about 200 kangaroos at Belconnen's Naval Signals Station. Government policy is to kill joeys orphaned after their mothers have died and the RSPCA confirmed yesterday wildlife authorities forced it to destroy any joey healthy or injured brought to the society.
Wildcare negotiated licenses in 2006 with the ACT and NSW Governments to allow it to take up to 35 orphaned joeys from the territory to its Queanbeyan sanctuary, raise them and release them into the wild. Chief Minister Jon Stanhope wrote to Wildcare soon after, congratulating it on the agreement and wishing the group success.
Wildcare estimates it rescued about 32 joeys. But the group conceded to authorities the mortality rate among the rescued animals was high, with only a minority of the young roos surviving to make it back to the wild. Conservator of Flora and Fauna Hamish McNulty wrote to Wildcare last December telling the group the export licence was issued on a trial basis and would not be renewed because taking the joeys over the border was contrary to Government policy.
In a document provided to the tribunal, the conservator wrote that the ACT Flora and Fauna Committee was worried that supporting Wildcare's scheme might send mixed messages ''where on the one hand the Government is supporting the rescue and rehabilitation joeys, while on the other hand authorising kangaroo culls on ACT land.''
The tribunal heard the first part of the case yesterday, on the eve of the Government's release of its new draft kangaroo management strategy.
Wildcare's representative at the tribunal, Professor Steve Garlick, said the group was keen to have the matter resolved quickly. ''Every day that goes past, another animal is killed.''Photo: 'UNDER THREAT' - An orphaned Joey lies in a makeshift pouch.