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Anger over "muttonbird" (Short-tailed shearwater) burrow destruction

Grant RW Humphries, September 28, 2013

Aboriginal anger as thousands of mutton bird burrows bulldozed for golf course

Reported on 27-Feb-2013 by ABC news, Australia

See report here

On King Island in Australia, approximately 12,000 shearwater burrows were destroyed to make room for a golf course being constructed.

The project developer suggests that the number of burrows destroyed was actually 6,000, but an actual E.I.S. from before construction has yet to be released.

Why this is only coming to light now, AFTER the fact, seems insane to me. Even 6,000 burrows could represent a substantial impact on the colony, which has an estimated 45,000 colonies.

Does anyone have any further information about this? I.E. who did the EIS? etc...? Someone should take responsibility here I believe.

Cheers Grant

Comments ( 1 )

Eric Woehler

Eric Woehler

Folks this has been a long fight - I have posted the developer's paperwork (DA) that went to Local Government (King I Council) for approval, and the Media Release that BirdLife Tasmania (a regional branch of BirdLife Australia) put out to raise community awareness about this destruction.

The DA and the MR are here:

We were amazed that the Federal Government chose NOT to assess the destruction as a significant impact.

If anyone wants to apply a bit of pressure, I would encourage you to write to the Australian Federal Environment Minister, the Hon Greg Hunt MP ( and raise some/all of the following points:

You are writing to draw his urgent attention to the unacceptable destruction of extensive breeding habitat of Short-tailed Shearwater, Puffinus tenuirostris (=Ardenna tenuirostris) on King Island.

The Cape Wickham Golf Course will destroy between 6,000 and 12,000 burrows for the purposes of constructing the golf course. This will impact between 12,000 and 24,000 breeding birds.

The species is listed as Marine and Migratory (JAMBA and ROKAMBA) under the Australian EPBC Act 1999, and as such, the species is a Protected Matter of National Environmental Significance. The species is protected by a number of bilateral international treaties between Australia, Japan, China and Republic of Korea.

You believe that the destruction of between 6,000 and 12,000 burrows of Short-tailed Shearwater, Puffinus tenuirostris (=Ardenna tenuirostris) for the purposes of constructing the Cape Wickham Golf Course on King Island is a Controlled Action, and request that your Department write to the proponent and refer the proposed activity for assessment under the EPBC Act 1999.

It will help if you identify this as an international issue in your email to the Minister.

It is unlikely that the Minsiter will act - the new Federal Government is pro-development. However, please send an email, and let's see what happens.

For further info, please contact me. Eric