MORE REACTION

The uncontrolled, unmonitored slaughter of protected Adelaide and Yellow Rosellas and Musk and Rainbow Lorikeets by commercial fruit growers in South Australia was first allowed by the then South Australian Minister for Environment, Dorothy Kotz for a period of 1 year from the 26th of May 1999. The current Minister for Environment Iain Evans has allowed the slaughter to continue for the Adelaide Rosellas and the Musk and Rainbow Lorikeets.

This action is now receiving world wide publicity.

The article below is reproduced with the permissions of Mr Evans and The Courier newspaper.


Letter to the Courier Wednesday February 28, 2001

Specialists involved in bird control program

Sir:- I refer to your reports and letters to the editor regarding the decision to replace the requirement for a written destruction permit to shoot common native parrots causing damage to commercial orchards with a proclamation advertised generally in the media.
  This decision to change the method of control and simplify the procedure was not taken lightly.
  Indeed, it followed recommendations from the National Parks and Wildlife Council (NPWC) and the Wildlife Advisory Committee (WAC), through the Abundant Bird Reference Group, as well as Government agencies following consultation with grower organisations.
  Both the NPWC and the WAC comprise independent specialists with practical knowledge, skills and experiences.
  For example, the WAC's Abundant Bird Reference Group includes the RSPCA.
  It is important to recognise that the species to which the exemptions apply are common and have generally been the subject of destruction orders for many years, and that they cause significant damage to commercial orchards and vineyards.
  In 1999/2000, horticultural industries sustained high levels of fruit damage from rosellas and lorikeets, equating to a loss of $4 million. With the irrigation providing a regular water source, and the orchard/vineyards providing a regular food source, some abundant species of birds have required control for decades.
  It should be noted that exemption from the requirement to have a written permit are specific only to prescribed locations, persons,

circumstances and conditions, including compliance with the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1985, and the Code of Practice for the Humane Destruction of Birds by Shooting. A species identification pamphlet has been prepared and distributed to growers and grower's organisations.
  Also, exemption from permits do not represent a removal of protected status under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972. The taking of prescribed species in circumstances other than those specified without a destruction permit is illegal and people doing so will be subject to prosecution.
  It has long been recognised that one of the most appropriate strategies to minimise the damage caused to fruit crops is to implement control when conditions indicate that it is desirable.
  Removing the requirement for a written destruction permit assisted commercial orchardists and vignerons to act quickly to implement bird management programs, integrating scare tactics, shooting and other devices to reduce fruit damage.
  The removal of the requirement for written destruction permits was carefully considered with a view to improving the State's management for the conservation of native species by:
a) preventing the build-up of bird numbers on orchards by enabling orchardists to implement scaring and shooting programs when birds first arrive, thus maximising early deterrent capabilities while minimising the number of bird deaths; and
b) enabling National Parks and

Wildlife SA and orchardists, to establish a cooperative approach to pest native bird management by having practical and integrated management systems that are sensitive to more vulnerable species, and that provide sustainable long term strategies.
  Many commercial growers have demonstrated a commitment to integrated bird management by investing in a range of related techniques, such as passive visual scaring, cover netting and/or exclusion netting.
  Under the auspices of the Wildlife Advisory Committee, an independent group of specialists and experts, Regional Bird Management Task Group has been established to support and inform commercial growers of recent innovations in bird management, and to engender responsible and humane conduct of bird management programs.
  To provide base line data on this issue, the Government has recently established a research program to monitor these bird populations in the affected areas.
  Orchardists and vignerons are major landholders in regions such as the Mt Lofty Ranges.
Engaging these landholders in environmental repair work is a major agenda of Government.
  This requires the establishment of positive and cooperative relationships that are based on mutual recognition of the problems facing both landholders and the environment.

IAIN EVANS
Minister for Environment and
Heritage; Minister for Recreation,
Sport and Racing; Minister
Responsible for Volunteers


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