Dugong Slaughter: Finally Some Reporting of the Issue

Dugongs are large marine mammals that swim about northern Australian waters. Indigenous Australians are allowed to hunt dugongs even though their numbers are probably in serious decline.

There are two criteria that should be applied to the harvest of an animal species: 1. Are the numbers taken sustainable, and 2. Is the method of killing humane?

But these criteria do not apply to the slaughter of native animals under native title legislation in Queensland.

I’ve written on the issue before, but not much since 2008. [1]

There has been a campaign wagged out of Cairns to get this issue on the national agenda and finally tonight there was some reporting of the inhumane slaughter of dugongs in northern Australian waters by the ABC TV 7.30 Report.

http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2012/s3448943.htm

Well done to Sarah Dingle and Lesley Robinson for following up on a story documented by Ruphert Imhoff.

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[1] http://jennifermarohasy.com/2008/01/ignoring-the-slaughter-of-dugongs-in-northern-australia/

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17 Responses to Dugong Slaughter: Finally Some Reporting of the Issue

  1. Alex March 8, 2012 at 10:11 pm #

    While elephants, rhinos, large felines and other species are being decimated by the gun and the UN just looks the other way, the same UN is telling us to spend 80 trillion dollars for the next 20 years so as to save the polar bear, whose population is thriving and increasing.

    Just one billion dollars would be enough to stop the illegal slaughter of extinction-treathened species. But what the heck, it’s climate change that matters and we need to stop the planet from continueing having its climate changing. I do not know how we human beings can do that, it’s like an ant trying to stop a speeding train by standing in front of it.

  2. spangled drongo March 9, 2012 at 7:41 am #

    One of the biggest unnecessary slaughters of wildlife has occurred on Fraser Island with the misguided concept of the dingo being adopted as a native dog. By allowing the dingo to take over Fraser the natural ground dwelling wildlife has been almost totally removed by the starving pack.

    Remember, the dingo is only an Asian fisherman’s dog that came here three to four thousand years ago, extinguished the Thylacine and took over as the No1 predator.

    Australian wildlife never evolved alongside the dingo and cannot cope with it. Also because of its hallowed status, NPWS will not allow any eradication programs for the dingo, which are well and truly overdue. Because of this dingo policy NPWS cannot control not just dingos but feral dogs, cats and foxes.

    The Bligh govt want to do the same with North Stradbroke as was done with Fraser and if that happens the mindless slaughter will spread. I see the results of this crazy dingo policy almost daily in rare wildlife slaughter in my backyard [a red legged pademelon ripped to shreds yesterday] that NPWS will not do anything about.

    Apologies for this not being specifically about dugong and turtles but it is about pointless wildlife slaughter through bad policies.

  3. Debbie March 9, 2012 at 8:43 am #

    SD,
    Poor policy and even poorer implementation is becoming the hallmark of our current political agenda.
    We have people who are not personally invested in the outcomes making up impractical ideological rules.
    They are almost completely dismissing those who do have personal experience and personal knowledge, in favour of attaining PR political outcomes and commissioning flowery reports to justify their behaviour.
    The endangering of dugongs and the over protection of dingoes are examples of the sort of results we are all seeing.
    Our natural environment and our climate are ever changing, adaptable and dynamic.
    The rules are becoming increasingly centralised and inflexible.

  4. cohenite March 9, 2012 at 10:33 am #

    Unbelievable; what a dingo’s breakfast environmental policy is in this country. The poor old dugongs; sacrificed on the alter of the chattering classes’ egotistical genuflection to their concept of the ‘noble savage’ and demand for communal expiation of guilt for the tarnishing of this concept.

  5. spangled drongo March 9, 2012 at 10:38 am #

    Debbie, they can do it if they really want to. I have been very impressed with Northern NSW Nat Parks carrying out extended fox baiting programs in densely settled coastal areas like Byron Bay, Brunswick Heads etc on behalf of [mainly] nesting migratory sea birds which would probably contravene govt regs on baiting but they seem to have the will to bend the rules. They do it and they are successful. Hats off to ’em.

    As a result you will see echidnas, wallabies etc surviving as well as good bird life. These 10-80 baits kill the feral predators, including dogs, dingoes and cats but rarely natives because of partial immunity. I have pointed this out to QNPWS in letters and phone calls but their spiel is that dingoes kill the cats and foxes so it all balances out.

    They don’t seem to realise that cats and foxes will play dogs and dingoes off a break and anyway that still leaves dogs and dingoes unaccounted for.

  6. Debbie March 9, 2012 at 11:05 am #

    Of course they can do it SD!
    And definitely hat’s off to em!
    With the right mind set, anything is possible!
    Too often lately, the mindset is the problem.
    It is spawning inflexible and impractical rules and protocols….claiming through the PR babble to ‘save’ the environment….yet that is not what we’re seeing….not here….and not in Nth QLD either.

  7. spangled drongo March 9, 2012 at 1:50 pm #

    The indigenous right to hunt is arguably OK provided they do it with traditional methods and gear, not 6m tinnies, big outboards and spear guns or rifles.

    Even then you could argue that with today’s cruelty standards, higher and denser populations of indigenies plus endangered species being the target, that it should be very limited.

    One would hope that the aboriginal communities themselves would self regulate on this.

    This right to indigenous hunting extends all the way down to Moreton Bay where any species, protected from the general community, can be slaughtered.

  8. John Sayers March 9, 2012 at 2:17 pm #

    I couldn’t even watch the video – I get upset just watching grown men hanging around in boats torturing fish for a TV programme.

  9. Robert March 9, 2012 at 2:51 pm #

    Around here the kouris go tortoising a bit. They used to go pippying, but that’s been stopped for everyone. A friend of mine who was into mangrove worm and such things has passed on. There are very few to continue that tradition.

    I love the now rare sight of Dungutti families doing these things together, but SD is probably right. Traditional game should be taken by traditional methods.

    Up to a decade ago there were still kouris spotlighting in the forest near me, occasionally they would have parties and booze-ups near the town-side of the forest. The truth is, the only aborigine I’m likely to see in the bush now is a kid risking death, walking the gullies in autumn to steal dope crops. Even that seems to have stopped with the last generation.

    In the decades when we’ve been talking about welcome-to-country, custodianship etc, the aborigines around here have deserted the bush as a prickly, uncomfortable place which can’t feed them. They’ve got cash now, and want their turn doing what we’ve been doing.

    Yeah, save the dugong, control the dingo. People first, but conservation a very close second.

  10. Mick In The Hills March 9, 2012 at 5:42 pm #

    In addition to what Spangled Drongo and John Sayers said about only using traditional hunting tools and practices, I would add – no refrigeration of any species killed. It either gets butchered and thrown in the fire then & there and eaten on the spot, or otherwise preserved only in ‘traditional’ ways.

    Anyone know how ancient aborigines preserved fish and meat?

  11. John Sayers March 9, 2012 at 6:59 pm #

    Mick – why should the Aborigines be allowed to treat animals any differently than you and I.

    Some idiot in my area dumped a beaten up puppy into the garbage, the driver heard a whimper when he dumped his load. That puppy has since been revived and has a new owner.

    They know who did it – just can’t prove it.

    If they could – they would throw the full arm of the law at them. Major fine maybe jail.

    Why should Aborigines have special privileges.

  12. Mick In The Hills March 9, 2012 at 7:42 pm #

    John I have no real problems with the traditional hunting privilege, just restrict the equipment & weapons to only that used in pre-first fleet times.

  13. spangled drongo March 9, 2012 at 8:56 pm #

    Tonight I received another request to sign a petition to “Save Straddie” ie, request the government to do with Straddie [North Stradbroke Is.] what they did with Fraser Is. thirty-odd years ago which is to make it a national park.

    I groan when I get these requests because I know that ground dwelling wildlife survives in spite of, not because of, national parks, particularly in Queensland.

  14. John Sayers March 9, 2012 at 8:57 pm #

    Like rocks smashed into turtles heads? We are supposed to be a civilised society – why should we tolerate an uncivilised society within our own just because they are indigenous.

  15. cohenite March 10, 2012 at 8:12 am #

    “why should we tolerate an uncivilised society within our own just because they are indigenous.”

    This surely is the point. WHY do aboriginals have this RIGHT to be barbaric? It is bizarre since at the same time their advocates hold them up to be a culture which is an exemplar in terms of affinity with and support of nature.

    The whole issue of ‘preserving’ attributes of a culture or indeed anything needs to be selective and be value added; this means saying some things which happened in the past were undesirable. It is this aspect of the debate, saying that some past practices of aboriginal culture were undesirable, which I think prevents action not only in respect of how aboriginal hunting is allowed to continue but some aspects to do with violence against themselves, particularly their women-folk, to continue to fester.

    It is the usual political correctness and cultural cringe which we have inflicted on us by our moral betters, the Finkelsteins of the world.

  16. Debbie March 10, 2012 at 12:23 pm #

    I also find it perplexing that the same type of people made such a racist fuss about the Indonesians and the Japanese re cattle slaughter and whaling.
    Not making much sense to me.
    I agree with Jennifer’s 2 criteria.
    It shouldn’t matter what type of animal it is or which race/ religion of people are doing it.
    If it is either not sustainable or deliberately cruel, then it shouldn’t be happening.
    We need to take some responsibility for sensible management, sensible/responsible progress and achievable conservation NOT waste our time and money on impractical, cross purposed, knee jerk, naive and highly emotional ideology that is more about PR an PC than anything else.
    Congratulations to those who did get the plight of the dugongs into the MSM,
    At least that now means it happens.

  17. Mark A March 10, 2012 at 12:53 pm #

    cohenite said
    “It is the usual political correctness and cultural cringe which we have inflicted on us by our moral betters”
    Don’t want to mix politics into this, but this attitude is akin to our paying only lip service in condemning some abhorrent and barbaric cultural customs.

    Weak as water we are, when it comes to upholding our long established values.

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