Wombats buried Alive at Glenbog State Forest Suffer Avoidable Cruelty
The NWC is disturbed by the apparent lack of oversight of logging contractors leading to unnecessary and preventable deaths of wombats in Glenbog State Forest. The NWC strongly recommends an investigation into the actions of the Forestry Corporation contractors responsible.
It has been reported in the Sydney Morning Herald that during the consultative process for the logging of the Glenbog State Forest site, Forestry Corporation agreed to take care that their activities would avoid blocking and damaging wombat burrows; that they would call Wildlife Rescue Far South Coast (WRSC) if they saw injured Wombats; and that truck movements would be limited at dawn and dusk. Prior to logging operations, volunteer WRSC wildlife rehabilitators, Marie and Ray Wynan, systematically recorded the location of burrows on the logging site and marked them accurately by GPS on the maps provided to the contractors. When logging activities commenced the map burrow markings were ignored and despite protests and warnings by these dedicated licensed volunteers burrows were covered over and blocked with logging debris, in some cases more than once.
These actions show a blatant disregard for safe and humane environmental practices and the welfare of the wombats within the burrows was disregarded. These wombat deaths are the result of humancaused prolonged and painful starvation.
Wombats are a unique and much loved Australian marsupial. The community expects that care and consideration is always taken to protect their wellbeing as developers and industry go about their activities.
The Wombat Protection Society and Wildlife rehabilitators spent time, effort and care to educate the Forestry Corporation on the ecology and needs of wombats as well as doing all the preparatory groundwork to locate and mark every burrow within the site. Forestry Corporation should have consulted and co-operated with all stakeholders to ensure a successful operation for logging activities that would mitigate the dangers to resident fauna from logging operations and burrow-blocking debris.
The NSW Wildlife Council is frustrated and disappointed that despite the efforts of member groups and the dedicated wildlife rehabilitators who worked in good faith to collaborate to reduce potential damage, the forestry contractors blatantly ignored all advice and followed a quick, easy and tragic path to profit.
The NSW Wildlife Council has been advised by the Wynans that though one area of the site has now been removed from their activities, logging continues at Glenbog State forest in areas where there are multiple wombat burrows.
State Greens MP, David Shoebridge, has tabled a motion in State Parliament for a thorough investigation of this incident and a halt to all such activities until a proper plan is locked in place to ensure such inhumane practices can never happen again. Australia’s native wildlife’s safety must be reflected in all future logging policies and practices. The NSW Wildlife Council welcomes and wholeheartedly supports Mr. Shoebridge’s motion.