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Habitat Ecology News

NSW Recreation Shooters To Gain Access To National Parks!

The NSW Government is attempting to pass legislation that will enable recreational shooters access to National Parks for the supposed purpose of controlling feral animals. In exchange they will vote for the privatisation of the NSW Power Stations. (Which will only drive household bills up) Isn’t this a conflict of interest and what of the implications to the staff, visitors and animals of these parks? The state has procedures and policies governing the humane control of animals, both feral and native. Are these shooters competent enough to abide by these policies and procedures as professional shooters and government employees would have to.

How many people have to be injured or killed and how many non-target species will be the victim of cowboys that will shoot anything that moves? What is the implications to the recurrent budgets of NSW Parks for the control of feral animals as a result of this access? Who is going to manage the hunters and regulate their access, certainly they don’t expect rangers to do this without a increased staff, funding and training? Will we become like the US and Canada with armed rangers patrolling the parks as the hunters will be armed and may not like being checked to see if they are complying.

Allowing access to interest groups to control feral animals is not the answer as they have no interest in controlling them long-term. They are interested in hunting and will therefore never remove all individuals so that they will have something to shoot next time. This practice has been going on for years. When rabbits were in plague proportions in the early years of the rabbit plagues, hunters would leave individuals behind to ensure that they would have something to hunt next season and thus ensure their income/sport. The same has been said of foxes, goats and a range of other feral species.

As a colleague of mine has stated:

“Culling should be left up to professionals and not sporting shooters. If culling is required then this should be done with parks closed and over a period of time. Victoria has a body of professional operators called the “Vertebrate Pest Management Association Inc Vic” which has members trained in the humane use of firearms who could be called upon to do such work with the utmost safety. Our members are both full-time and part time licensed and insured operators in Vermin Control. It is about time that the Governments started waking up to the fact that if they want a safe professional job done they need to pay for the service and not keep giving jobs to bodies who should not be involved.”

Lets get real and allow only those qualified to control and with the appropriate licensing and training to undertake these activities in controlled situations.