HUMANE Society International (HSI) and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) have condemned the unacceptable impacts of logging operations by the Forestry Corporation of NSW in Glenbog State Forest.
The practice of infilling wombat burrows is all the more abhorrent considering written assurances from the Forestry Corporation of NSW to concerned landholders promising that they would be protected.
The landholders, who are wombat carers and members of HSI's Wildlife Land Trust (WLT), were assured that logging contractors would avoid the 150 wombat burrows they had painstakingly marked out and provided GPS points for. However, on daily monitoring trips they have been required to dig out tens of filled-in burrows, many of which appear to have marking tape intentionally removed.
"The WLT wrote to the Forestry Corporation of NSW on behalf of the landholders requesting measures be taken to reduce wildlife suffering. The response was that these had been included in the operational plan, but the photos I'm receiving almost daily show that they are being treated with brazen disregard," HSI Program Manager Evan Quartermain said.
As the bare-nosed wombat is not listed as a threatened species Forestry is under no legal obligation to take its presence into consideration when logging, a circumstance that angers HSI and IFAW and results in needless and painful deaths by suffocation or starvation for the large number of wombats trapped in collapsed or filled-in burrows.
IFAW Native Wildlife campaigner Josey Sharrad said this case was extremely concerning as wombats were being wantonly buried alive. "The stress and fear that these poor animals are having to endure is simply unacceptable. We all have a duty to protect our wildlife and this cruel practice must stop immediately," she said.
Mr Quartermain concluded, "The lack of requirements when it comes to wombats and other non-threatened species affected by State Forest logging is absurd. Much suffering could easily be avoided if the simple and very reasonable measures agreed were adhered to."