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Protect our Nature Coast and follow the teaching of St Francis

By Susan Cruttenden.

TWO VERY SUCCESSFUL events attended by animal and nature lovers recently were The Blessing of the Animals at All Saints, Bodalla, and the meeting of Coast Watchers, a local environmental group.

All creatures great and small were blessed by Rev Mandy Wheatley at a gathering outside Bodalla’s historic church. In the words of her prayer for the animals that give us joy and income we were asked to care for them and appreciate their god-given qualities.

“For native animals and farm stock, we ask for food and water.
For vets, nurses, animal rescuers and other carers we ask for wisdom”.

Eurobodalla hunt fest out of place, forest destruction highlighted

The religious order of St Francis follows God’s example of kindness, compassion and love for all creation. To most people there is nothing compassionate or even understandable about killing animals for fun, and yet a celebration of hunting by recreational hunters and their families has been condoned by council without the approval of the majority of people who live here.

The well-attended meeting of Coastwatchers’ Great Southern Forest Forum at Moruya in August was a strong demonstration of how much value residents place on their unique coastal environment as a habitat for native animals, for clean water catchments, carbon storage afforded by large trees, and the landscape aesthetics and natural beauty vital for nature-based tourism.

The danger of ignoring these considerations was highlighted in local media accounts and summed up by NSW Greens MP, Dawn Walker. After a visit to denuded areas of Mogo Forest she said, “The Greens are calling for an urgent suspension of logging operations in the Mogo State Forest and a shift of the forestry industry into sustainably managed plantations, instead of our precious native forests.” [Ed note: This move has been stubbornly resisted by NSW governments for 30 years and more.]

Ecologist Dr Rosemary Beaumont said in a media release, “The (proposed) Great Southern Forest will safeguard our forests, foster indigenous involvement in forest management, lift regional employment, and protect biodiversity and wildlife”.

NSW National Parks and Wildlife finding relevant to biodiversity

• Since 2000 the number of threatened species had risen from 28 to 38, with the number of critically endangered species rising from 0–5.
• The key threatening process to arboreal mammals was the loss of hollow-bearing trees due to the time needed for hollows to form.

Although logging decisions are made by the NSW Forestry Commission, failure of local council to raise a protest against unwise planning and logging in our shire and the continuation of recreational hunting with sale of firearms at HuntFest could be interpreted as an indication of council’s indifference to the environment and to the wishes of the community.

Along with the increased powers councils have been given over community and environmental well-being there is an expectation that services to property will be extended to mean services to the people, with wider participation in decision making and transparent management practices for a truly democratic council.

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