Letters to The Islander | Aug. 8

Wonderful care

Last Wednesday, Thomas had an accident on the swings at school that resulted in a fairly painful broken arm. On behalf of myself and Steve we are feeling so grateful for this country we live in, our health system, our local Parndana School and the local community.

The wonderful staff and students that took care of him in the beginning, the local Ambulance volunteers, Kangaroo Island Health Service staff, Royal Flying Doctor Service and the Women's and Children's Hospital. Everyone involved did a wonderful, caring and professional job of helping Thomas and our family. We are very lucky to live in this country and have such great services to help us when things go wrong. To top it all off, we are very blessed to have great family and friends who supported us throughout. A big thank-you!

Lucy Morgan, Vivonne Bay

The KI dunnart, seen in the lower left corner, was captured on a remote camera on the Sanderson Track in Flinders Chase National Park in August 2018.

The KI dunnart, seen in the lower left corner, was captured on a remote camera on the Sanderson Track in Flinders Chase National Park in August 2018.

Inconvenient appearance

Thank you for your article (The Islander, 11 July 2019) highlighting efforts of Kangaroo Island landholders to save the critically endangered Kangaroo Island Dunnart, "one of the rarest species on earth". There has been some tremendous work by KI Land for Wildlife over the past year or so to engage locals and to raise awareness of the struggle for survival of this rare and elusive marsupial.

Over the past couple of years, Dr Rosie Hohnen of Charles Darwin University also completed a survey of the KI Dunnart in government parks and reserves on the Island. I was recently excited to learn that Dr Hohnen recorded a dunnart by remote camera on the Sanderson Track in Flinders Chase National Park in August 2018. This sighting was made too late to be included in her research paper which was by then being finalised, but was lodged nevertheless with the South Australian biological database, and therefore available to officers of the South Australian Department for Environment and Water (DEW).

The dunnart was recorded near one of the sites now approved for the Australian Walking Company to build its private luxury accommodation villages. Given the track record of concealing information, it should come as no surprise that this dunnart sighting has not been made public by DEW, its Minister, or Natural Resources Kangaroo Island (NRKI) and was most certainly not mentioned in any of the decision processes concerning the AWC development.

NRKI has been quite vocal recently about its work to protect the KI Dunnart, which is classified as critically endangered and regarded as one of Australia's species most likely to become extinct in the near future. NRKI organised a recent seminar capitalising on the work of KI Land for Wildlife and Dr Hohnen. One can't escape the feeling that DEW and NRKI have been merely seeking some positive publicity in a year in which their reputation has suffered.

We now know with certainty that the KI Dunnart inhabits at least one of those areas. What other endangered species would turn up with more adequate surveying? Well, for one, Hooded Plovers have been recorded as nesting on Sandy Beach in recent past surveys on behalf of Birdlife Australia, a fact conveniently ignored in the DEW approval process and by the short term contractor.

Nirbeejananda Saraswati, Karatta

Gentle reminder

I'm writing this letter as a gentle reminder to landholders who choose to manage wildlife on their properties. The Department for Environment and Water helps to manage the process for control of wildlife through a National Code of Practice.

When shooting a kangaroo or wallaby, the primary objective must be to achieve instantaneous loss of consciousness and rapid death without regaining consciousness. If a kangaroo or wallaby is still alive after being shot, every reasonable effort must be made immediately to locate and kill it. Once a female has been killed then its pouch must be thoroughly examined and any pouch young must be euthanased.

If you suspect a landholder/individual of illegally shooting wildlife in ANY circumstance, you must report it to police. Please remember It is illegal to trespass onto another person's property to check injured wildlife. It is illegal to destroy wildlife on your own property without a permit. It is illegal to shoot from the roadside.

Unfortunately, there have been recent reports of landholders acting inappropriately on other's properties, as well as on public roads. As a community we need to respect a landholder's rights to manage their properties within legal and ethical guidelines. Conversely, the community has a right to expect landholders to carry out management activities efficiently within these legal and ethical guidelines.

Kate Welz, KI Wildlife Network