Extract from Leigh Mullan Facebook site
Leigh Mullan: I have great concern over events this year regarding bait trailing by the WA Department of Parks and Wildlife of the new hybrid 1080 capsule bait ‘Hisstory’, in the Kimberley on Department of Defence land?
Earlier this year we were made aware that the WA Department of Parks and Wildlife intended to test their new 1080 capsule based bait ‘Hisstory’ at multiple locations throughout the YSTA.
I am aghast at the proposal, and wondered why they would trial 1080 baits in a region that has very few feral cats, high numbers of endangered Northern Quolls and other rare & endangered native flora & fauna and good stable populations of DNA tested 100% Pure Dingoes. The reason why the Quolls have survived and THRIVED here can be directly attributed to the presence of Dingoes who’s populations have recovered and stabilized since the DOD took over Kimbolton & Oobagooma Cattle stations in 1978 and all lethal control measures against them ceased. Interestingly, the YSTA borders onto the Artesian Ranges, Australian Wildlife Conservancy managed land, where they have found that the region is the ONLY place on the Australian Continent that has had ZERO faunal extinctions since European colonisation.
With further information it became very apparent that feral cats were not the target of this trial, but the baits were to be tested in areas of previously determined high Northern Quoll density, specifically ON THE QUOLLS themselves to test uptake and gather mortality statistical data. This in itself is a likely breach of a number of environmental Acts, eg The Federal Conservation Act where it states it to be illegal to ‘take’ rare fauna on a conservation estate when knowing what is being used is not a selective bait.. The intended target sites have been surveyed previously numerous times and as far as we know, NOT ONE cat was surveyed at any of the sites.
What is even more concerning is the extreme secrecy that has been used in this entire process. The circumventing of proper, and required Environmental assessment and lack of ECC- Environmental Compliance Certificate. An ECC is required for ANY activity on YSTA/DOD land where it will impact on native Fauna and Flora. And in this case there is to be INTENDED IMPACT on Endangered Fauna.
It is obvious that this whole exercise is intended be conducted in complete secrecy, ‘need to know only’.
Of even greater concern is the fact that these trials will directly negatively impact on the stable hierarchically intact ecologically functioning 100% Pure Dingoes that inhabit YSTA land and surrounding Australian Wildlife Conservancy Charnley River – Artesian Range Sanctuary. The reason why there are high density of endangered Northern Quoll populations, in numerous locations on YSTA lands is BECAUSE of the presence of these Dingoes. The trail 1080 bait ‘Hisstory’ is extremely lethal to Dingoes. In these secret, environmentally unassessed trials, Dingoes will die.
In 2003 an Independent review by HUGH POSSINGHAM PETER JARMAN AND ALLEN KEARNS of the Western Shield Stated:
9. Dingoes. There is healthy debate within CALM, and more broadly, on the role of dingoes in Australian ecosystems. From a broader perspective, it is probably true that dingoes deliver cat and fox control benefits, a form of ecosystem service, in areas where they retain their numbers and social organisation. The Department could take a leadership role in Australia by reviewing the role of dingoes in the restoration of ecosystems and drawing together national and international expertise in multi-species predator systems. This would be the step towards determining a long-term management position for dingoes in different ecosystems. As CALM scientists know, there is a considerable international literature on the management of predator systems and the problems of meso-predator release from removal of top predators.
To date, 14 years later this has been largely ignored. As with the then CALM (Department of Conservation and land Management), and now the WA Department of Parks and Wildlife, there appears to be an over reliance of the use of baits which the Department hold Proprietary right to, and is a key driver in the Departments source of income via manufacture and distribution. It is of huge concern that an entity that holds Proprietary rights to a patented bait, will be the same Department that makes the decisions of Where to use it, How much to use it, and How long to use it. A good business model would suggest, Everywhere we can, As Much and we can, and for As Long as we can. We are concerned that this may complicate and blur the lines between the requirements of conservation and ROI and Income. This interdependence was also alluded to in the 2003 Independent Review.