Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Aerial baiting in Kosciuszko is an ecological disaster;so reintroduce pure bred dingoes instead

“Spreading death to predators from the air in Kosciuszko National Park is a reckless action that will place endangered dingo and quoll populations at risk”, said Keith Muir director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness.

“Instead of killing wild dogs, the National Parks and Wildlife should be reintroducing endangered pure-bred dingoes as a top level predator into Kosciuszko National Park in ecologically significant numbers,” Mr Muir said.

“While here in NSW we kill off dingoes by aerial baiting in Kosciuszko National Park, wolves and cougars are being reintroduced into the national parks in the United States.  American park managers appreciate that top-level predators regulate ecosystems and loss of large carnivores is associated with extinction events.  Yet in NSW the dingo remains the only endangered mammal targeted for eradication under state law”, he said.

He said that “All appeals to Environment Minister Bob Debus for scientific research into the role that dingoes play in the ecology of endangered marsupials have been rejected.  There is no question that poison baits kill dingoes.  Wiping out dingoes and knocking back quolls by aerial baiting only releases fox and cat populations that can quickly bounce back from baiting in very large numbers that then kill off the smaller endangered species and other wildlife. This is called “mesopredator release” and is one of several well known ecological responses to the loss of top carnivores.  If you want to cause local extinctions in national parks then I believe that aerial baiting may be the best way to go about it.”

“And there is more to protecting endangered Tiger Quolls than seeing if quolls die immediately from poison baits as examined by recent experiments.  Poisoning quolls will affect their health and probably their capacity to breed.  National Parks and Wildlife is not saying that baits are good for quolls, its a question of whether baits kill them or just make these endangered animals really sick instead.  It stands to reason that a serious poisoning event damages the health of any creature, so why damage the health of quolls”, asks Mr Muir.

“If Americans can tolerate living with and even admire brown bears, big cats and wolves, Australian farmers should learn to get along with dingoes before they become extinct”, Mr Muir said.

 For more information contact: Keith Muir, (02) 9261 2400 (wk) or 9550 3615 (ah)