I have just read an article in the Bulletin magazine, dated September 23,
2003, entitled "Cull Most Cruel", written by Anthony Hoy. Perhaps others
already know of this appalling incident which occured about a year ago.
A goat farmer and landholder from Corricudgy Road, Rylstone, had trapped and
tethered four Wedge-tailed Eagles, which were used as a decoy to trap more
eagles. The tethered birds had been chained up for at least 4 months and
were being kept alive with pieces of meat and water. On each of 4 birds, an
axe had been used to cut one wing so that they could not fly and break the
chains. Around these decoy birds there were a total of 48 steel-jawed
rabbit traps baited with carrion. Any eagles caught in these rabbit traps
were then killed and burnt, with evidence of 10 eagles having been killed.
This ongoing entrapment project was discovered by chance when a NPWS
helicopter was doing a routine low-level fire survey in the backblocks of
Rylstone in October 2002. Thus the crew spotted the 4 eagles chained to
logs on the bald hill below them. The farmer had no permit to cull any
When questioned by police, National Parks rangers and RSPCA inspectors, the
farmer admitted that the four eagles had been trapped as decoys to keep
other eagles away from his kid-goats and to help capture any other eagles
that landed. He did not know how long he was going to keep the four eagles
None of the tethered eagles survived the rescue attempt made by NPWS and a
post-mortems carried out at Taronga Park Zoo found that the birds had severe
lesions, ulcers or broken bones, caused by the hose clamps and tie-wire used
to attach the chains to their legs.
At the time the article was written for the Bulletin (September this year),
the farmer was awaiting sentencing under the National Parks and Wildlife
Act, charged with harming protected fauna, and using a trap to harm or trap
protected fauna. The act provided for fines totalling $14,000 and/or six
months imprisonment for the first charge, and fines totalling $10,000 and/or
6 months imprisonment for the second.
I have been informed that the farmer has now been sentenced, and received a
fine of only $2,000 and no jail term.
The Bulletin article named the farmer as John Robert Anthony Kirk, of the
property Springdale, Corricudgy Road, Rylstone.
And I thought there were less Wedgies around because of the drought!!
Capertee Valley, NSW
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