This submission was sent to members of the legislative council in June 2000 in the hope that legislation allowing commercial horticulture to shoot unlimited numbers of otherwise protected native parrots would be reconsidered.
We were unsuccessful.
Re: Section 51a National Parks and Wildlife Act, 1972
During the last fifteen or so years, there has been much planting of non-indigenous native flowering gums together with more and more removal of native vegetation for the increased planting of vineyards and olive plantations.
The population of lorikeets now seems to have become sedentary. Lorikeets used to follow the sequential flowering of native vegetation and act as the main pollinators of the target species of feeding trees in the Adelaide Plains, Barossa Valley, Murray Mallee, upper S.E. and the Southern Mount Lofty Ranges including Kangaroo Island.
Trees are no longer being pollinated by the lorikeets in most of those areas; in fact land care groups say they can no longer obtain viable seed from some native species because of this.
We are not aware of any research being done in this area and that is of significant concern to us.
With the unlimited destruction of a now sedentary population of lorikeets by commercial horticulture, and with most destroyed at the height of their breeding season we are concerned that populations may not recover. However that might be the intention.
Another major concern is that the Adelaide Rosella has one of the most limited ranges of all of Australian native parrots.
At a February meeting of DEH/Wildlife and Animal Welfare groups when a senior member of DEH was queried about the numbers of Adelaide Rosellas remaining in the wild the reply was "nobody knows".
In correspondence however they assert that research supports their position on the use of Section 51a and that "Whilst of limited distribution, the Adelaide Rosella is very abundant within that range".
We know this research and it is now outdated. In recent correspondence from Iain Evans he asserts that at the time these birds are being destroyed " a significant proportion of the population comprises birds in their first year; these are the individuals most likely to die from natural causes."
This is conjecture. If it were true, then there is even more to be concerned about as it means we have an ageing population.
Juvenile Rainbows can only be identified by their lack of eye-ring and the colour of their beaks, we doubt that farmers, inexperienced observers or indeed many people at all would know this or could see this from a distance.
Lorikeet breeding season may start in late winter and extend through spring and into summer. This is the time when the shooting occurs.
Destruction of Adelaide Rosellas by cherry orchardists also occurs during their breeding season, which is in December and January. The rosella population will not recover between seasons. Ten years ago Adelaide Rosellas were a problem in cherry orchards. Cherry varieties grown have changed since then and the Adelaide Rosellas are no longer a problem. You can confirm this with Bill Bishop, Cherry Grower, Basket Range.
We understand that the DEH have conducted a survey of farmers (231) and have estimated that they have destroyed 40,000 lorikeets and 5,000 rosellas since the enactment of Section 51a of the National Parks Wildlife Act of 1972 in May 1999.
If this is so then it is a very conservative estimate. Ron Sinclair, senior research officer with the Animal and Plant Control Commission, said the number of rosellas killed was a "gross underestimate".
At a recent BCCS/Apple and Pear Growers meeting it became clear that orchardists had not sought the enactment of Section 51a. In fact they say they had not even discussed its use, although they are not now opposing it. It was also clear that they share our concerns at the inclusion of the Adelaide Rosella and said they would not have suggested their inclusion had they been consulted.
The Bird Care and Conservation Society of SA Inc would like to see the Destruct Permit reinstated. With numbers on the permit clearly stated it would be an offence to exceed this and we hope that it would be policed by the DEH.
Charging royalties on those birds destroyed or making a charge on the permit could finance the policing of the destruct permits and encourage commercial horticulture to use more ecologically desirable crop protection thereby promoting a responsible and "Clean Green Image".
To provide a permanent for home for unreleasable rosellas that have been orphaned or injured as a result of the use of section 51a a Rescue Permit together with the purchase of a Keep and Sell Permit is required.
The current cost of this basic Keep and Sell Permit is $40 and must be renewed annually and remain current for the life of the birds. The life span of rosellas in captivity is up to twenty or more years. The cost of our compassion for the orphaned and injured could be in excess of $800.00 for the life span of two birds.
Commercial horticulture can destroy these same birds by the thousands for the cost of their ammunition.
Bird Care and Conservation Society of SA Inc
Tuesday, 13 June 2000
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