“In what’s been described as an act akin to ‘eco-terrorism,’ more damage has been done to the predator-proof fence at Mulligans Flat Sanctuary. The damage appears to have been made by a rogue group of activists – with Animal Liberation ACT again denying any involvement.” Full story HERE.
by Adrienne Francis (ABC News)
There is growing outrage in the community over ongoing vandal attacks and death threats issued to Australian National University researchers.
But anti-kangaroo cull protestors say they are unrepentant and have nothing to lose.
A spokeswoman from the Australian National University says anti-kangaroo culling protestors verbally intimidated and prevented research staff from leaving the Mulligans Flat Sanctuary in north Canberra on Sunday.
The university says the researchers were tracking Tasmanian bettongs and had nothing to do with the ACT Government’s annual cull of kangaroos.
ANU says its researchers should have the right to carry out their work in a safe and secure environment.
Ranger in charge Peter Mills says the ongoing vandalism is heartbreaking and he is outraged scientists have also been harassed and intimidated.
“The protesters vehicle blocked the sanctuary gate and they gestured to them like, we are going to cut your throat,” he said.
But Animal Liberation’s Carolyn Drew says the hostile exchanges are justified.
“It can be defined as intimidation, but I think it is more direct speaking,” she said.
Ms Drew says she doesn’t think protesters will jeopardise the credibility of the anti-kangaroo cull movement.
“I don’t think anything really damages our cause because we are the minority in this country,” she said.
“So we really have nothing to lose in terms of status because we don’t have any status in this country.”
Meanwhile, scientists say they are optimistic all 17 of the Tasmanian bettongs recently released in a Canberra sanctuary are alive, despite vandal attacks to the predator proof boundary.
It comes as police assess the damage and investigate the incident.
The Tasmanian bettongs were released into the Mulligans Flat Woodland north Canberra last week, marking the first time in a century that the rabbit-sized kangaroos have set foot on the mainland.
Vandals have since cut the sanctuary’s $1.3 million predator proof fence in at least 30 locations and destroyed padlocks.
Professor Tony Peacock says they may be forced to relocate the bettongs to a safer location.
“It is a world leading research site,” he said.
“It relies on the fact that the Tasmanian Government lets us bring these bettongs up here and that’s been put in danger by this stupid, stupid behaviour.”
There are no reports of foxes inside the sanctuary at this stage, however rangers are continuing baiting and surveillance for feral animals.
Professor Peacock says feral animals form a threat to the bettongs.
“Some of them have pouched young and one fox coming in for one night is enough to kill half those,” he said.
But Animal Liberation ACT is pledging ongoing civil disobedience to coincide with the cull of 2,000 kangaroos in the Territory.
The organisation has claimed responsibility for unearthing and photographing remains of culled kangaroos at two sites in Canberra over the weekend.
However, it is not known who sabotaged security and cut the predator proof fence surrounding the sanctuary at Mulligans Flat Nature Reserve.
The scientific board that oversees the sanctuaries management says it is considering offering a reward for tips offs about the vandal attacks.
Animal Liberation’s Carolyn Drew says she is sympathetic to vandals’ motivation, concerned about kangaroos trapped inside the sanctuary.
“I can understand the concerns at Mulligans Flat for the bettongs,” she said.
“The problem with that is that they are not equally concerned with the threat that they pose to the eastern grey kangaroos that are actually enclosed, that can’t get out and no kangaroos can get in.”
Police are calling for anyone who witnessed suspicious activity in the area over the past few nights to come forward.