1976 June 28 WD Country Bulletin
Wildlife threatened by poisoned grain
Wildlife authorities are concerned about the number of native birds being killed by poison grain laid to control farm pests.
The director of Wildlife and Fisheries, Mr Jim Wharton, said that on one farm in the Western District, 60 mountain ducks were found to have died from poisoning while four brolgas were found poisoned near another farm.
He said he recognised that farmers were having a difficult time at present, and that farm pests – especially crickets – were causing problems in many areas.
“Nevertheless,” he said, “too many rare and valuable wildlife species are falling victim to poisoned grain spread around by farmers at sowing time.
“In the interests of protecting our native wildlife, I ask all farmers to contact their local Fisheries and Wildlife Officer before undertaking any poisoning program for pests,”Mr Wharton continued.
He said farmers should bury or burn any “pickled” grain not spread for crops, since heaps of poisoned grain left in the open could easily kill wallabies, ducks and other protected animals.
Poisoning of any native animal was prohibited and offenders faced heavy fines and even a prison sentence for a second offence, he said.
“The Fisheries and Wildlife Division issues permits to farmers to destroy wildlife by means other than poisoning, if it is satisfied the wildlife is causing farm damage.”
Mr Wharton said the division had an animal damage officer in Melbourne who could advise on methods of controlling wildlife if farmers had problems.