Thursday, 7 February 2013

Shooting in NSW National Parks

To make my opposition to legalised hunting in NSW National Parks clear, I have sent the following letter to: 

Hon. Robyn Parker MP, Minister for Environment and Heritage
Hon. B.R. O'Farrell M.P., Premier

The Hon. George Souris, MP, Minister for Tourism

The Hon. Katrina Hodgkinson, MP, Minister for Primary Industries

The Hon. Michael Gallacher, MLC, Minister for Police and Emergency Services

I urge you to do the same and send this letter or your own, to your local member as well if you live in NSW. The letter is not original. I wrote part of it and copied a lot, that sums up longer term environmental concerns. The letter I copied from can be found in full here

You can find the list of affected National Parks and Reserves here.

You can find the list of National park estate land that cannot be declared as public hunting land on page 11 of this document. There are only 20 so it won't take you long to read it.$FILE/b2011-163-d18-House.pdf

Our birds and animals cannot enter this debate. Please write on their behalf.



It’s my belief that a legal hunting season in NSW National Parks is a very poorly considered decision. My concerns are for the safety of park users. Additionally I am concerned about the stress that will be caused to native birds and animals and I have serious long term environmental concerns.

We all know that gun deaths occur where guns are used. In Italy 13 people were killed in hunting accidents and 33 wounded in the first six weeks of the 2012 shooting season1. / Can your government afford a single hunting season gun death? Can you? Who do you imagine will die first? A father, a son, or a brother in a shooting party? Or pehaps bushwalker who walks into a park unsuspectlingly? Or is a foreign national more likely? It’s well known that people of non-English speaking backgrounds are overrepresented among drowning deaths in this country.” Will your government be more successful at warning non English speakers of dangers in National Parks than successive governments have been in warning of the dangers of the surf? And just how will your government close all the access roads to National Parks and make it known to all when shooting season is on?

As an appreciator of Australian nature I am also concerned for the stress caused to birds and animals while shooting season occurs. If it is documented that the presence of a photographer might put birds off breeding in an area, can you imagine the disturbance caused by shooting? As the birds and animals are silent in this debate, you must try to consider more than one perspective. And who or what is to stop a shooter taking potshots at protected Australian species? Life is tough enough for many species without a legal shooting season to content with.

Furthermore irresponsible game shooters are well known to actively introduce target species to areas in which they are allowed to shoot.  This has been cited often as a reason for the numbers and extent of deer, pigs and perhaps goats that are now pests in public and private land throughout eastern Australia. 

Some of the reserves in which shooting is soon to be allowed are quite small and isolated by surrounding cropland.  The temptation to release just a few piglets, goats or deer in such reserves will be irresistible to a minority of shooters.  What could be more attractive to a not-so-thoughtful shooter than a local ‘private’ hunting ground?  Many of these reserves currently support few or uninteresting feral species, so that the pressure to augment feral stocks will be great.

What is a keen hunter going to do in the unlikely event that his local hunting ground (National Park or Nature Reserve) appears to be running low on 'stock'?  Where is the vested interest for shooters to actually eliminate any feral animals at all? On the contrary, there is a considerable motivation to increase the number of feral animals so that they can be seen to be 'doing more' and being a more impressive part of the 'solution'.  Personal interest is completely opposed to the professed objectives of the policy.

Given we already know that feral translocation by shooters has occurred extensively in the past and largely if not entirely caused the present problem, any legislation that encourages such introductions to areas of even higher conservation value is an appalling, unforgivable change.  Together with the certainty that some native animals will be accidentally shot and the fact that general recreational hunting has never been shown to control any feral species in any location in Australia, what is the justification that allows changing the law?  We are faced with a lose-lose and yet one more 'lose' for our limited remaining native species.

Has the government included consideration of the problem of deliberate feral translocations into national parks and reserves, and if so, what evidence was used to decide the new laws would not make the situation worse than it is now?

In anticipatation of your reply to these issues.


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