This Government's decision to drop one million 1080 baits across New South Wales is killing our native wildlife. In a letter signed by 24 scientists from across Australia, experts highlighted how this appalling plan poses an unacceptable risk to native carnivores, including quolls, dingoes and monitor lizards, all of which have already been impacted by the catastrophic bushfires. To add to their threat to survival is unconscionable. The 1080 bait is not only incredibly inhumane—causing any animal unfortunate enough to ingest it to vomit, shake, scream, spasm and writhe in excruciating pain for up to four days before dying—but also indiscriminate in the carnage it creates. Anybody who claims to be dedicated to protecting native animals must hear this: Extensive research has shown that native species are not immune to 1080 and are especially vulnerable to the poison in south-eastern Australia.
Not only are native animals at extreme risk of being poisoned by the 1080 baits dropped in their thousands across our national parks, but it was also revealed in the letter received by all members that these animals are being deliberately targeted. Dingoes—animals that have lived in Australia for more 4,000 years—are being baited and killed under the guise of being "wild dogs". Last year the University of New South Wales published research that revealed that the majority of dingoes killed in our State are genetically pure. If people are serious about taking action to protect native animals and threatened species, they will support our call for a moratorium on the activities that are really threatening native animals such as logging, deforestation and the right-to-harm native animal permits that are all still currently active despite the enormous loss of more than a billion animals in the bushfire season.
As Australians remain distraught over the unprecedented number of wild animals that have perished in the past month, it is time to look towards a kinder and more humane option. Now more than ever we need to be looking at the latest ecological research to find new, sustainable ways to manage the relationship between humans, native animals and non-native animals in the wild. Ecologists are increasingly recognising that eliminating non‑native species, particularly those that have been around for many years, can be counterproductive. Demonising non-native species ignores some of the benefits that these animals can bring to ecosystems and, conversely, some of the unintended harm that might occur if they are suddenly removed—particularly in this fragile, bushfire-ravaged environment. Making rash decisions to kill animals, fuelled by green xenophobia, is not the answer.