East Coast Wine Trail

East Coast Wine Trail
East Coast Wine Trail

Friday, 28 June 2019

Maria Island readies for kangaroo and wallaby slaughter

Maria Island is promoted as a natural wildlife sanctuary and off-shore retreat with historic ruins, sweeping bays, dramatic cliffs and plenty of stories to tell.

From tomorrow, however, this beautiful island off the east coast of Tasmania will be closed to visitors so that hundreds, maybe thousands, of wallabies and kangaroos can be slaughtered.

The Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service has determined there are too many cute critters on the island and many must die.

The island's culling operations have taken place since 1994, but Animal Liberation Tasmania president Kristy Alger said authorities need to look at alternative solutions.

But a Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment spokesperson said the animals become "sick and distressed" when numbers are too high.

So the shooters will go in and blast away significant numbers of the very wildlife that many visitors to Tasmania are most anxious to see.

Tourism Tasmania boasts: "Wombats can be seen around the island, as well as pademelons, Forester Kangaroos, Bennetts wallabies and Tasmanian Devils."

But officials are unmoved.

"PWS has a responsibility to conserve the island's biodiversity while also maintaining a viable and healthy animal population and has been actively managing the island's macropod species," a spokeswoman said.

Alternative methods of keeping numbers down, including giving male creatures vasectomies and re-location, have been rejected as too hard.

So visitors will be kept away while the hunt takes placed.

Maria Island contains the most intact example of a convict probation station in Australia and is known as an excellent walking and cycling destination.

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