Here is my letter to Professor Michael Archer, no reply forthcoming.
Dear Prof. Archer
I have read about the FATE program on your website and would like to share some comments.
Firstly, how can you consider this program to be helping conservation of kangaroos? How can 'sustainable use' apply to kangaroos when:
1. Their numbers have dropped up to 70% across the nation from 2001-2006 due to the drought and excess kangaroo 'culling' ?
2. Up to 80% females are killed. According to population experts killing 50% females is unsustainable ?
3. The report by The Australian Society for Kangaroos (a compilation of shocking facts from various government departments) clearly shows how kangaroos are on track to extinction. The fact that the biggest kangaroos have been shot out is proven by the fact that the average age of commercially killed kangaroos these days is only 2-3 years (21 kg) i.e. barely at reproductive age and just out of the pouch.
4. According to the Murray Darling Report, if kangaroos are killed in areas where there are less than 5 kangaroos per sq. km, that is a recipe for extinction. Yet kangaroos are being commercially killed in areas where there are less than 1 kangaroo per sq. km. .
Kangaroos are approaching, if not at, the tipping point beyond which kangaroos become extinct.
The FATE program will guarantee extinction for kangaroos. Entrusting the conservation of Australia's national icon to the very people who hate kangaroos the most (i.e. farmers) is like asking foxes to guard the proverbial hen house.
White man's ecological footprint in Australia has been way too large - we are going through the 6th mass extinction of all species due to human beings' total lack of consideration for and understanding of the ecosystem in which we live. Australian government policy has already allowed 40% of native species to become extinct in a mere 220 years since the early settlers arrived. When are we going to wake up and stop this war against wildlife before it's too late?
It's time to end the ridiculous policy of making wildlife pay their way with their lives by becoming renewable resources to plunder for profit till none remain. If we don't become proper custodians of the land, we will lose our most precious treasure - our unique native animals. Why would people come to Australia and spend $85 billion tourist dollars each year just to go to shopping malls, theme parks and zoos when those attractions exist in any other country? What makes Australia special is our iconic wildlife, in the wild and in hordes!
Professor Archer, with all due respect, do you really want to go down in history as the man who drove the last nail in the kangaroos' coffin? Kangaroos are the second most recognised international tourist symbol. We proudly bear them on our emblem and QANTAS jets fly all over the world with the image of a kangaroo on their tails. What will happen when they become extinct? Shall we replace the kangaroo with a cow? Leaving an extinct animal on our national emblem would be too painful a reminder of our collective stupidity. Perhaps now would be a good time to start contemplating what other animal should replace the kangaroo that is as popular and well known? Perhaps cane toads, foxes or how about concrete?
On Australia Day, today, we should be considering how to protect our national treasures, not eating them and feeding them to our dogs. The FATE program encouraging 'harvesting' of our native animals is a mistake of mammoth proportions.
Thank you for your consideration.
2. H.H.Lavery 'The Keepers'
4. AAT Submission, General Administration Division, NSW District Registry, No. 535 of 2007 (exhibit 13).
Re Murray Darling Report on quasi extinction - www.kangaroo-protection-coalition.com/nswaatappeal2008.html
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