The following letter to the editor has appeared in the Adelaide Advertiser and the Messenger following the South Australian Government's January 2001 enaction of the legislation allowing commercial horticulture to shoot unlimited numbers of otherwise protected native parrots.


Once again this Government has bowed to the financial interest of a minority group and proclaimed that orchardists can shoot or employ contractors to shoot unlimited numbers of otherwise protected Australian native parrots without monitoring or control. Even duck hunters and fisherman are limited to the size and number of their kill.

During the first twelve month period this was in place (1999-2000) the Department of Environment did a survey of 231 orchardists. It was determined they had killed 45,000 Rainbow Lorikeets, Musk Lorikeets and Adelaide Rosellas. It was also agreed that this was a very conservative estimate.

There is no incentive for orchardists to explore better and more humane methods of crop protection because whilst shooting is allowed, it will always be the easiest option.

This killing is conducted during the breeding season when, as a result young unweaned birds are abandoned in nest hollows to slowly die. Apart from humane considerations, this does not allow populations to recover- this may be the intention, however.

The killing is conducted on private property with no television cameras to bring this to the attention of the public. Perhaps that is why there has been very little public concern expressed?

Imagine what would happen if 45,000 cats or dogs were slaughtered in the Adelaide Hills during their breeding season leaving unweaned puppies and kittens abandoned in nest hollows to die a slow death.

Surely there would be public outrage?

Perhaps we need visitors from other countries to express their outrage and defend our wildlife as happened when a cull of the Koalas on Kangaroo Island was considered.

Or should our parrots swap their feathers for fins to ensure their survival?

S. K. Blair
Bird Care and Conservation Society of SA Inc

(08) 8264 6696

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