I was shocked today to hear the news that the state government has authorised the shooting of 20 sulphur crested cockatoos
in central Sydney, ostensibly to prevent them from damaging window sills and facades on a building near Broadway.
I consider it totally unacceptable that one of the few native species able to thrive in our urban environments can be treated so cruelly and have sent the below letter to state environment minister Frank Sartor condemning this action. If you feel strongly about birds or about urban biodiversity I urge you to do the same.
Frank Sarto can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Minister Sartor
I am writing to express my shock, and the shock felt by many of my constituents, at hearing that the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water has issued a permit for the shooting of 20 sulphur crested cockatoos in central Sydney. With so little native wildlife left in our cities it is appalling that it is allowable to kill one of the few species that can survive in the highly disrupted ecosystems created by humans.
Along with this government’s recent actions of culling possums in the Royal Botanic Gardens and trying to flush out the endangered grey headed flying fox population there one could be forgiven for thinking NSW Labor is trying to sterilise the city of all wildlife. If this continues it won’t be long until the only things living in Sydney other than people will be rats and cockroaches.
I understand that the permit has been issued in order to curtail the damage that cockatoos are supposedly doing to windows and facades of a building in Broadway. However it is hard to see how this will solve the problem – shoot these birds and more will likely pop up in the future if the building is so appealing to them. As well as being far more ethical a much more effective long term solution would be to replace the damaged building fabric with new components made of tougher material that the birds cannot damage.
Alternatively, mesh could be used to protect the buildings from damage by birds, as is done in Japan on some very ancient and iconic buildings.
Every year millions of people from all over the world visit Australia to see the wildlife that we’re so lucky to have and in doing so make a massive contribution to our economy. Imagine how those visitors would feel if they knew that in the heart of Australia’s most recognisable city we were killing off a gorgeous, intelligent and long lived bird in the name of protecting a few window sills.
I also object very strongly to the fact that City of Sydney Council was never consulted about government endorsed shooting being carried out in our local government area. It seems like the whole approval process for this heinous act was conducted in secret – I have already contacted local media about this issue and many of those I spoke to were just as surprised and angered as I was to hear the news.
I would ask that as a matter of urgency you withdraw the shooting permit before any more of these beautiful creatures are cruelly and unnecessarily killed. The public backlash against your government will be significant if you allow it to continue.
Councillor Irene Doutney
City of Sydney Council
Image by Arthur Chapman, use authorised under creative commons.