THE AUSTRALIAN Society for Kangaroos (ASK) in mid-March released freedom of information documents showing a five-year history by Bush Heritage of slaughtering kangaroos at its wildlife sanctuary in NSW.
ASK says it finally obtained access to documents released by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage after Bush Heritage lost its court battle to suppress their release in the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
ASK president Nikki Sutterby said the documents show Bush Heritage, which solicits donations of land and money from the public for wildlife and biodiversity preservation, killed 700 kangaroos since 2013 at its Scottsdale property south of Bredbo and planned to kill another 500 kangaroos in 2016. This was suspended after a public backlash when their controversial plans were released to the media.
The loss in court and the release of the documents to ASK also prompted Bush Heritage to tell Fairfax media of their plan to kill another 1,000 kangaroos.
Sutterby said the secret plans for the 2016 kill were exposed after an employee tipped off ASK just days before shooting was to commence. She said she is aware that Bush Heritage received considerable negative publicity with many donors and supporters immediately withdrawing their donations, bequeaths and support.
Shooting mothers and denying water
The documents revealed plans to target twice as many females as males in 2016 in an effort to “curtail their breeding and reduce the need to cull next year.” There was no mention of the females’ essential role to unweaned at-foot joeys. Three hundred and thirty females were marked to be killed, risking the death of pouch young and orphaning (with often slow death) of at-foot young.
The documents also revealed that over a six-year period Bush Heritage deliberately closed off water points in an effort to reduce the number of kangaroos at the Scottsdale property.
Sutterby said: “To deliberately target females and deliberately close off water to wildlife is cruel and immoral, particularly when Bush Heritage promotes itself as being devoted to the conservation of Australia’s native wildlife”.
She said the documents also confirmed Bush Heritage’s concern for public exposure and their efforts to keep their controversial practices a secret. The Scottsdale Management Plan highlighted the need to “achieve the highest certainty of an appropriate cull with minimal risk of public exposure”.
IMAGE: Brett Clifton