News State Queensland Hamilton Island faces social media backlash over animal culling

Hamilton Island faces social media backlash over animal culling

Kookaburra
A kookaburra was among the animals shot on the resort. Photo AAP
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Hamilton Island’s social media pages have been inundated with angry messages and pleas from people after learning of mass animal culls at the resort destination.

The ABC has revealed more than 1000 wallabies, possums and birds, including a kookaburra, were shot on the resort island between November 2014 and May this year.

The resort island’s managers have Queensland government permission to carry out the culls “to prevent damage or loss of property and to protect the health and wellbeing of staff, guests and other visitors”.

The environment department allows management to cull an unlimited amount of agile wallabies, 100 sulphur-crested cockatoos, 10 kookaburras and up to 5000 possums every three years, despite no population data being available.

However, the actions have not gone unnoticed by social media users who have inundated Hamilton Island’s Twitter and Facebook accounts with their concerns.

Among the posts are vows to boycott the resort island, pleas for management to change their policy and criticism of the culling program.

“Hamilton Island was on my to do list, but not anymore,” Jo Connellan said.

“What an absolute disgrace you are, ” Oliver Barton said.

“I will NEVER go to your island again.”

“I was planning my return next year but my conscience just won’t let me til you can prove this will stop!” wrote Shell Lancaster.

“Why so silent? How about a reply to the many posts from concerned Aussies ????” Donna Everitt Fisher added.

“At a pinch I could understand the reasoning behind the cockatoo cull, although I would still condone it, but as for anything else, there is absolutely no valid reason,” Juls Williams said.

Some tweets were addressed directly to Queensland’s Environment Minister Steven Miles, who is yet to comment on the issue.

Despite the social media backlash, the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection have refused to change their position.

In a statement, it said it was “satisfied that the operators on Hamilton Island are managing wildlife in accordance with their damage mitigation permits”.

The department said it was not planning a population survey on the resort island either, noting the wildlife in question were classified as “least concern”.

According to the department, the island’s current damage mitigation permits will expire next year and the conditions will be reviewed if the resort owner applies for new permits.

The RSPCA has also raised concerns about the number of animals being culled.

–ABC

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