On 01 February Australians gathered on beaches right across Australia in a declared National Day of Action against the Western Australian shark cull. Here is a statement from Bob Irwin about the WA shark anti-cull rally written on 31st Jan 2014.
WA’s shark mitigation policy has received a lot of media attention in recent weeks, and will no doubt continue to come under scrutiny thanks to rallies – like this one – in support of sharks! The Government’s policy aims to prevent shark attacks at popular swimming beaches (designated ‘safe zones’) by employing fisherman to set drum lines targeting large shark species. These species include the nationally threatened and, might I add ‘legally protected’ Great White Shark.
Essentially, this plan aims to turn the apex predators’ natural habitat over to humans, at the extreme detriment of these incredible creatures. The Government is using the guise of public safety to scaremonger support for their misguided policies. But you know, having worked with apex predators for more years than I care to count, I know that what Barnett’s Government fail to recognise is the false sense of safety that this plan conveys, as well as the severe and long-lasting impacts to the ecosystems that occur with the removal of apex predators. This plan has no scientific grounding and as such, this policy will not be able to demonstrate its effectiveness (or lack-there-of).
Whilst any life lost to human-animal conflict is a tragedy beyond comprehension (and believe me, I speak from personal experience), politicians the country over are responding to these rare, though highly publicised events with knee-jerk, political reactions aimed at increasing their own popularity. Their decisions ignore the wealth of information willingly provided by expert scientists and instead bow to the cries of their most vocal, misinformed constituents. We must urge Governments (our elected representatives) to make decisions about the environment based on scientific evidence, not political imperative.
I’m so inspired to know that so many of you are speaking up on behalf of our precious wildlife! Without your commitment and passion, our world would be stripped of its natural beauty, for the benefit only of the greedy and narrow-sighted.
I urge you to continue to voice your concerns, be a voice for the voiceless and encourage others to see the true beauty in the incredible world around us.