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Sunday 5 May 2019

UPDATE: People power helps save possums

Many visitors to Tasmania come to enjoy the wildlife - including possums (below), wallabies and native hens. 

But now a local golf club has caused outrage by seeking - and gaining - a permit to slaughter the wild animals it says are pooing on its greens.

The move by the Launceston Golf Course to kill the creatures has angered animal welfare advocates and some local residents.

The Tasmanian Government's Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE) has granted the Launceston Golf Club a permit to cull species that have been "causing damage to the golf course", including ducks, possums, native hens and wallabies.

The club has told local residents that the animals and birds leave excrement on the club's greens.

Locals point out that the club has failed to fix several holes in its boundary fences, through which the wildlife can enter and leave. 

The decision to grant the permit has angered Tasmania's Wildlife Rehabilitation Council (TWRC), the peak body representing wildlife carers.

President Oma Rodger described the move as "unconscionable".

"Instead of examining ways of working with those species of wildlife, which are in habitat stress and are being reduced to smaller and smaller in peri-urban areas, they're opting for a cheap, quick, and least effective method of managing populations," she said.

"If they're worried about poo on the ground, they can just pick that up."
She also raised concerns about protected species in the area, and whether the company contracted to undertake the cull could tell the difference.

Animal Liberation Tasmania spokesperson Kristy Alger said it was disappointing a permit had been issued for the cull.

"It is unacceptable to think that playing golf means more than an animal's life," she said.

"Native species are being killed to protect a golf course — that is intolerably cruel."

On May 6, Launceston Golf Club issued a statement: "We 
will not be proceeding with action proposed to start on May 1.
"Whilst at all times the club has complied with the relevant regulating body’s guidelines, the club acknowledges the strength of negative public opinion regarding this matter.
The Club has always endeavoured to ensure a sustainable level of native fauna on the property while maintaining a championship golf course along with its infrastructure."
Good news all round. 

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