Monthly Archives: March 2010

Baby Seals and Joeys – a head splitting issue

Let’s get something straight.

When baby seals are bludgeoned to death it’s barbaric, bloodthirsty and cruel. We all agree on that!

But when Australians clobber millions of joeys to death every year it’s … kind and humane.

There’s a big difference anyway. Firstly, those cute fluffy seals have mothers who love them, but those joeys don’t have a mother anymore – she just had her brains blown out.

The world thinks kangaroos are adorable. In fact, so much so, that Tourism Australia stuck one in a cage in a busy Los Angeles street in January.

Wallabies living in the Blue Mountains of Sydney

Wallabies living in the Blue Mountains, Sydney

But to be truthful, kangaroos are not so popular in Australia. There are heaps of them and they eat too much. For starters, they eat all the grass that ‘rightfully’ belongs to cows and sheep. They eat crops.  Farmers whose mantra is ‘there are too many kangaroos and they are a pest ‘– hate them!

Secondly, insurance companies hate them. They’re sick to death of paying claims for smashed car windscreens and bent fenders. Every morning Australian highways are littered with hundreds of dead kangaroos. A particularly popular site for corpses is on any highway leading into Canberra.

Hence, kangaroo shooting is a favourite sport for anyone with a gun and a desire to kill something. You see them all the time – 4 wheel drives with a string of lights across the roof. They’re great for lighting up the bush so shooters can blast dozens of roos without too much effort. Kangaroos are nocturnal animals and hence night is the best time to kill them.

Roo shooting is a great national pastime. Bored office workers love to spend their long weekends in the bush blasting them to smithereens. We do however draw the line when some yahoo shoots them with a bow and arrow through the face. See . Now that’s downright barbaric and the killer, Justin Stavropoulos got a whole year in jail.

Still, we have heaps of kangaroos left over and we do have a monopoly on them. So what to do? Until recently the only use for a kangaroo was as pet meat.

These days China makes everything but they can’t breed kangaroos (at least not that I’ve heard). Why don’t we encourage everyone overseas to eat kangaroo meat?  Delegations of government officials regularly trawl overseas searching for an interested country to purchase our dead kangaroos.

In the meantime, radio announcers on talk back radio breathlessly extol the virtues of roo meat. Woolworths and Coles now stock kangaroo steaks. The message is out there – it’s very healthy to eat roo meat. It’s Australian to eat roo meat. Furthermore, the more I discuss this matter with people, the more I get the impression that it’s ‘un-Australian not to eat roo meat’ and complaining against it makes one an enemy of Australia.

But maybe not so healthy for the joeys. As we blast the kangaroo into eventual extinction, we are left with a messy problem. Every female kangaroo seems to have a joey in the pouch. It seems unlikely that the shooters only kill male kangaroos. Until they work out a way to promote joey burgers they have to work out what to do with them. Anyway, the government has told kangaroo shooters what to do. They have to yank them out of their mothers’ pouches and clobber them on the head.

According to the RSPCA on the National Codes of Practice (Commercial and Non-commercial) for the Humane Shooting of Kangaroos and Wallabies requires that if a shooter kills a female with pouch young, then they must kill the joey. This is usually done by decapitation or a blow to the head (usually on the bumper bars of their 4W drives).

According to the website  –     I quote 

In the field this equates to smashing their head against an object such as a towbar or just simply stomping on their skull. It is not only in-pouch joeys that are dependent on their mothers. For about a third of the time you can call a kangaroo a “joey” they have permanently exited the pouch, however they still require milk, protection and guidance from their mother. These little guys are the joeys-at-foot or ex-pouch joeys, they are the ones that stick their heads in their mother’s pouch to obtain milk. This a key stage in the development of a kangaroo that usually lasts 120 – 220 days. The code directs shooters to kill these joeys by a single shot to the head, however these joeys tend to flee in terror when their mothers are shot. As kangaroos do not “adopt” other joeys in the wild their prospects for survival are very poor, most will likely starve to death or be taken by predators. How this can be classified as humane by Samantha Vine, Peter Ampt and Sarah Doornpos is to say the least, puzzling. I shudder to think what would come under the inhumane category, perhaps death by iron maiden?

According to this website, in 2007, 30,000 joeys-at-foot were orphaned by kangaroo shooters.

What a charming business! So when you pick up a roo streak in the supermarket or order it in a restaurant, you might like to remember these statistics.

Some people have a very cynical view on the government’s interest in getting rid of kangaroos. See . The website says – I quote –

Unfortunately the bad behaviour of governments, state and local, regarding kangaroos, is increasing. A campaign continues by those with vested interests to declare kangaroos pests – and commodities. Despite global warming, drought and bushfires, they are all working hard to turn even more kangaroos into pet food, hides, scrotum purses, and so on – even as the Australia-wide numbers plummet. From ABC news May 5, 2008: “John Kelly, from the Kangaroo Industry Association of Australia, says (new culling in Victoria) ‘would be good for regional employment and crops.” In direct income to the state, it’s worth about $5.5 million,” he said. “In indirect benefits, such as improved agricultural productivity, decreased levels of road accidents, and other such benefits – you add them all up, and you start talking about something approaching $15 million per year.”

kangaroo from above website

We’ve done our darndest to get rid of koalas by chopping down most of their trees to make way for housing settlements, so it’s probably difficult to rustle up enough koalas to turn into koala steaks. But farmers hate wombats and flying foxes too so maybe they could consider selling them in the supermarket next! Of course, shooters would have to whack wombat babies on the heads too, as wombats are marsupials and carry their young in pouches.

One thing’s for sure – when I hear Australians bleating about how cruel the Canadians are for culling all those baby seals, I’ll mention the hundreds of joeys who had their skulls crunched last night.


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Cheers for Sir Roger Moore and Tears for the Baby Elephants!


Sir Roger Moore and his wife from website

Not only was he a fantastic James Bond and a yummy Saint – he is now PETA’s UK ‘Person of the Year’.  He also has a BIG heart for vigorously fighting against the gross practice of foie gras. This is the abhorrent business of force feeding ducks and geese so that their livers enlarge and even explode. He wrote to every member of the House of Commons asking them to do whatever they could to end foie gras sales in the UK.

Because of his activism, Selfridges has stopped selling foie gras! We all applaud you, Sir Roger! What is most impressive is that this is one celebrity who uses his name to get results!  He has used his privileged position to bring positive change to the world and help stop suffering.

When the market for a product dries up then the killing and suffering stops!  Cadburys has made that very discovery. They wrote to all their shareholders to tell them that the backlash against them using palm oil in their chocolate was so great that they have stopped.  Many people are furious that jungles are being burnt down in South East Asia every hour of every day to make room for palm oil plantations. Countless animals, reptiles, birds and plant life are being exterminated by the palm oil trade. Orangutans are just one species now endangered in South East Asia because their jungles have been razed to the ground.

On my recent return from India I flew on Singapore Airlines. I was very disappointed that they served Nestle Tim Tam Cornettos for dessert. Clearly marked on the wrapper was that they contained palm oil. I refused  to eat it and complained in the airline’s survey of the flight.

As I said – When the market dries up, the killing stops.


Unfortunately, since the cessation of the ban on ivory trade in Africa, there is great concern that elephants, rhinosauruses and other wild African animals are now seriously endangered by poaching. 

Roslyn with an Indian elephant (with tusks intact)

It is so sad to see how the killing of the adult elephants has now left a generation of orphaned baby elephants. 

Bear in mind that the ivory is used in  the Chinese herbal medicine market as most countries have a ban on the importation of ivory and Ebay has banned the sale of products containing ivory. There are quite acceptable alternatives to ivory in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) and although China doesn’t care to know about them, they will have to find out what they are when the elephant becomes extinct.

When the market dries up the killing will stop.

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Would you like to be an animal in China?

Some people have asked me how I get subject matter for my blogs.

Well, very sadly I have only to open my eyes and I see something unsavory in the news or on the internet.

This week I could hardly not notice the horrendous news that eleven Siberian tigers in the Shenyang Forest Wild Animal Zoo in northeast China’s Lianoning province have died of starvation. They were kept in little cages (this is something that we all find depl0rable) and because the zoo had run out of funds the tigers were fed only a couple of  chicken carcasses a day. They eventually died of hunger. In one case, six tigers died in one day.

With only a handful (20) of Siberian tigers still alive on the Chinese – Russian border area, this is just deplorable and disgraceful. The South Chinese tiger is believed to be extinct.

A zoo official said: “The zoo is in a financial crisis and we haven’t been able to provide the  tigers with sufficient food for the last two years. An adult tiger eats about 20lb of meat a day, but the tigers here can barely get a chicken to quench their hunger every one or two days.”

The W0rld Wildlife Fund has staged rescues of animals from war torn zoos – where were they in this instance?

A live Siberian tiger!

The Navhind Times in Goa expressed beautifully and succinctly the deeper meaning behind the fate of the tiger in its editorial dated 10th February, 2010,  titled ‘Living with Tigers’.  I quote –

Saving the tiger means saving humanity. The tiger is a symbol of the protection of all species on our earth since it is at the top of the food chain. Saving tigers means saving the animals the tiger lives on, such as buffalo and deer.

As these animals live on plants, saving them for the tiger means saving the forests. And saving the forests means more oxygen in the atmosphere, protection of soil and storage of rain water, which are necessary for the survival of man.

Thus, saving tigers means saving humanity. If tigers are not there, our future generations won’t be there.”

However, Chinese zoos are a disgrace. Live antelopes and chickens are fed to lions as a ‘show’ to patrons. One of my friends confirmed that she saw this horrendous spectacle in China. A little bus full of blood thirsty locals travelled around the zoo to watch live animals being thrown to beasts of prey. Furthermore, the lions (for example) who had no hunting skills due to being in captivity for so long, did not know how to quickly kill their dinner and hence the poor creature suffered a slow and unpleasant death.

It appears that the only interest Chinese show for animals is in relation to food or Chinese medicine.

A primary factor in the decline of many shark species around the world is the market in shark fins. The fins are the principal ingredient in Chinese Shark Fin Soup which is considered to be a delicacy and has been served at Chinese banquets for centuries. The sharks are caught – their fins chopped off and the finless shark thrown back in the ocean to die. Despite the fact that wildlife organisations deplore the brutality involved, and certain shark species have been listed as endangered, there appears to be no abatement to the insatiable appetite of the Chinese for this soup.

Bear paws are hacked off live bears for banquets.

But even more horrendous is the harvesting of bear bile for traditional Chinese medicine. For centuries, bears have been kept prisoners in small cages – a tube inserted in their livers. Each day bile is sucked out of their livers causing the bears agonizing pain. Can you imagine such a horrendous life? No freedom – never to see the sun and grass – and kept in a filthy cage with a tube into your liver?  Furthermore, there are many substitutes for bear bile in medicine so bile farming is totally unncessary. Go to to see the disgraceful way the bears are treated in China.

Apparently, 5000 tigers have been bred on farms in China in the hope that the ban on tiger bones and other tiger parts will be lifted and China can once again use these products in their medicine.

Although many countries in the world view the ivory trade with aborrhence and trading bans are in place throughout the world, certain countries in Africa which had a stockpile of ivory, lifted the ban recently, immediately precipitating a resurgence in elephant hunting. See my blog . It is reported that 37000 elephants were slaughtered in Africa for their ivory last year. This was to provide ivory for Chinese medicines and whatever else they do with it. They won’t be able to sell it on Ebay as they are no longer advertising products containing ivory.

The rhinosaurus has nearly been wiped out due to the Chinese demand for their horn.

Sea horses are also endangered because of their use in Chinese medicine.

It does appear that any animal that the Chinese set their sights on for food or medicine soon becomes endangered. For some strange reason they do not seem to realize that once these animals or fish are gone, they are gone forever.  Please show your concern by never ordering shark fin soup in a restaurant, and make your feelings known. If you are buying Chinese herbal products study the list of ingredients to make sure there are no sea horses or bear bile in the ingredients. I have personally seen ivory chips in the drawers of a Chinese herbalist in Sydney in the last twenty years. And this is after ivory importation was banned.

Wild animals around the world are of course already under threat because of loss of territory. The panda bear in China is one of those animals  endangered due to loss of habitat to farming and building. Their daily diet requires significant quantities of bamboo from plants spread over a large area and without the ability to move widely to eat, their numbers have dwindled to dangerously low levels. Recent earthquake activity in their area also had an impact and now there are just a handful left in the wild. In the past they were slaughtered with gay abandon for their furs. They are not particularly fertile animals and now they are on the verge of extinction everyone is suddenly appreciative of their beauty and there is a great push to save them. They have no value in Chinese medicine and the world loves them as a cute fluffy bear.In this regard they are luckier than the shark, which inspires fear more than engendering appreciation for its prehistoric beauty and formidable power. Or the elephant,sea horse, rhinosaurus, tiger and bear which are considered to be more beautiful in a bag of herbs or bottle of pills than they are running around free.

We are now at five minutes to midnight in terms of saving many species. 

Dr Anish Andheria wrote in Dropped Hints in Sanctuary Magazine in April 2007 that his job is to work with a diversity of others to protect what survives of wild nature, until this task becomes the very purpose of life for the teeming millions who seem currently lost in false ambition. He was writing about protecting wildlife in India, but the same could well be said about China and the world.


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Pity About the Australian Koala!

Yep, it sure is a pity about the Koala.

It’s cute and cuddly but unfortunately it likes to live in trees in prime development spots. Let’s face it, when it comes to a shoot out between koalas and developers, you know who’s going to win – don’t you?

sitting in a tree looking at the ocean!

Koala loafing in a tree looking at the ocean at Nelson Bay

Now there’s a smart way to pick a desirable location to develop – watch where the koalas are holed up! The canny marsupials seem to be expert in picking out the best locations to chew on those tasty eucalyptus leaves.

They are, it seems, rather partial to water views. And we all know what happens when a tree stands in the way of a good water view!

Port Stephens Council and the Lands Department have declared war on the pesky koala. It appears that they (the koala) like living in some parkland behind the beach at Nelson Bay on which the council would like to extend the Halifax Caravan Park.  Well how dare those koalas!!!  The council and Lands Department are a reasonable lot but the koalas have just GOT to understand that that land is worth a whole heap of money!!! They’ll just have to pack their gum leaves and go find a gum tree where land values are lower.

Actually, the council is no doubt greatly cheered by the news that the koala population of Port Stephens, once the “koala capital of NSW” has decreased by 70% in the past decade. Better news again, every day they are being killed on the road as they seek refuge in people’s backyards. Better still, many are killed by dogs. According to 4,000 koalas are killed each year by dogs and cars.

Koalas are arboreal mammals. Their diet is mainly eucalyptus leaves which are very low in nutrients and high in toxins. Because this does not provide them with much energy they need to sleep a lot. Yep, sleeping in those trees that the council wants to chop down! 

Much of original native bush has been cleared in Australia and this has contributed to the extinction of many species. Since the eucalyptus tree is so important in the koala’s diet, it plays a very big part in their survival.  If eucalyptus trees in koala habitats are chopped down then we can say goodbye to the koala.

Where do I go now?

Even when a developer  illegally clears koala habitat the Port Stephens Council cheers! This is what happened last year and the council promptly took the opportunity to rezone the area for industrial development. What a bit of luck! Despite the fact that the Department of Environment and Climate Change advised against the rezoning, the council high handedly proceeded to do so anyway.

And  the council has now got their big eyes fixed on land right next to endangered freshwater wetlands and swamp forest. This should be an excellent site for them to expand the Salamander Bay town centre. Pity that such an expansion would breach two state environmental planning policies on buffer zones. Oh well, environmental policies are just made to be broken.

To be fair,this is not just happening at Nelsons Bay. Port Macquarie also has / had a large koala population, but once again they chose the wrong place to hang out. Port Macquarie is a terrific place to develop. Everyone wants to live there too! But you can still find koalas there – they’re holed up at the Koala Hospital where they’re being treated for stress. But unfortunately there’s nowhere to put them when they’re discharged – their trees have been chopped down.

A koala patient

The koala already has enough to contend with. We’ve done our level best to get rid of the blighters. Wherever there’s a koala settlement you can bet there’s a major road bisecting it, and a couple of squashed bits of fur on the road every day. And of course, eucalyptus trees are highly flamable due to their volatile oil, so they go up quickly wherever there’s a bushfire. Oh, and our garden pesticides get into the waterways which is a bit of a problem for the eucalyptus trees and everything that needs water really.

Anyway, it probably doesn’t matter because the koala has a brain that has been compared to a pair of shrivelled up walnuts on top of a brain stem. So maybe they don’t know the difference. Well, I’m sure the coastal councils are all counting on it!

Maybe you’d like to support the hospital –

And maybe you’d like to express your opinion to Port Stephens Council about the proposed development of the Salamander Bay town centre  and the proposed extension of the Halifax Caravan Park into koala habitat.

Their address is  (But they probably won’t give a damn as they have another agenda and it isn’t saving koalas) –

Postal Address:
PO Box 42,

The photos were kindly supplied by Lynn Bowden who is doing wonderful work helping koalas in distress. Go to this link  to see a koala video

See the website Koala Retreat for more information on the combination of koala conservation with koala captive management and a story about Matt the captive koala and Jack his wild cousin how they came together to help each other after 2001 Christmas fires. 



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1411 Tigers

Yes, that’s right! There are 1,411 tigers left in India. 

Well, I suppose the figure is symbolic as who can be sure if it’s 1,400 or 1,450? However, the bottom line is that there are not many left at all. A century ago India had 40,000 tigers, now it has come down to a miserable 1411! There is not much hope for the Indian tiger.

Save the Tiger

Only 1,411 tigers left!

Throughout India huge placards have been erected on the sides of the road and there are also frequent television commericals to remind us.

The problem is that the tigers’  natural habitat has been so eroded by logging and burning that really there is nowhere for them to live happily. Their natural food has been depleted due to diminishing territory (it has been proven that for the most part tigers prefer to eat larger rather than small animals – and their territory has been diminished too). So it follows that in order to get a meal a tiger has to hunt where it can, and this more often than not, means poaching livestock from farmers.

It is forbidden to kill tigers but it does happen that farmers kill them and at present there is such a court case in Goa, where in early 2009 a villager killed and burnt a tiger which had been killing livestock.  The forestry department has made a big issue of this killing and is prosecuting it to the full extent of the law. 

Don't scare animals!

The Navhind Times in Goa expressed beautifully and succinctly the deeper meaning behind the fate of the tiger in its editorial dated 10th February, 2010,  titled ‘Living with Tigers’.  I quote –

Saving the tiger means saving humanity. The tiger is a symbol of the protection of all species on our earth since it is at the top of the food chain. Saving tigers means saving the animals the tiger lives on, such as buffalo and deer.

As these animals live on plants, saving them for the tiger means saving the forests. And saving the forests means more oxygen in the atmosphere, protection of soil and storage of rain water, which are necessary for the survival of man.

Thus, saving tigers means saving humanity. If tigers are not there, our future generations won’t be there.”

Of course, the tiger is under threat everywhere.  The Siberian tiger is equally,  if not more endangered than the Indian tiger due to poaching and to illegal logging in Siberia. Tigers in South East Asia have lost their homes due to the burning of jungles to make way for palm oil plantations and everywhere the tiger is poached for the Chinese herbal market.  It is an horrendous thought that anyone would still (or ever, for that matter)  hunt such a regal and magnificent animal for any reason.

However, we must not forget why the tiger is at risk.  As with so many endangered species, we have taken their land, their forest and their food. We exploit them for their skins and their bones. We take everything and give nothing in return.  Unfortunately it could be too late before we find out what that means for mankind.

See another person’s opinion at

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