Kan­ga­roo feed­ing ban at tav­ern

Avon Valley Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - Sarah Brookes

HUN­DREDS of peo­ple have signed a pe­ti­tion protest­ing against a de­ci­sion by Depart­ment of Parks and Wildlife to ban the own­ers of the John For­rest Tav­ern from feed­ing the kan­ga­roos that mill around the pub in­side the grounds of the na­tional park.

Tav­ern owner Louise Fitzger­ald said pa­trons en­joyed sit­ting out­side in the court­yard for a close en­counter with the na­tive an­i­mals.

Ms Fitzger­ald said staff had been feed­ing the kan­ga­roos a spe­cial muesli rec­om­mended by vets for nearly two decades.

“In all that time we have had no prob­lems with the kan­ga­roos, who have be­come quite ac­cus­tomed to be­ing the star at- trac­tion for vis­i­tors,” she said.

“Lots of over­seas vis­i­tors come to the tav­ern es­pe­cially to see them and lo­cals al­ways bring their guests for this ex­pe­ri­ence.

“John For­rest Tav­ern is an iconic and unique Hills pub in the John For­rest Na­tional Park and a won­der­ful op­por­tu­nity for vis­i­tors to see kan­ga­roos up close in a bush set­ting.

“Parks and Wildlife have turned a blind eye to us feed­ing the kan­ga­roos for the past 19 years. I don’t un­der­stand why they now want it stopped.”

A Depart­ment of Bio­di­ver­sity, Con­ser­va­tion and At­trac­tions spokesper­son said con­cerns over the feed­ing of the kan­ga­roos were raised by park vis­i­tors and staff.

“Wildlife can be un­pre­dictable and dan­ger­ous, par­tic­u­larly if they feel threat­ened. The key to suc­cess­ful in­ter­ac­tion with wildlife is to re­spect their wild na­ture. Feed­ing wildlife can have a neg­a­tive im­pact on an­i­mal health,” they said.

The spokesper­son said the Con­ser­va­tion and Land Man­age­ment Reg­u­la­tions 2002 stated a per­son must not, with­out law­ful au­thor­ity, feed fauna, or en­tice fauna with food, on CALM land.

“Depart­ment staff are cur­rently work­ing through a staged process of re­duc­ing sup­ple­men­tary feed­ing to en­cour­age the an­i­mals to for­age more nat­u­rally,” the spokesper­son said.

Ms Fitzger­ald said the kan­ga­roos did not pose a dan­ger to vis­i­tors.

“We have never en­coun­tered any prob­lems with the kan­ga­roos and as an ex­tra pre­cau­tion we in­stalled a fence around the beer gar­den, as too many un­su­per­vised chil­dren were run­ning at the kan­ga­roos and star­tling them,” she said.

Pic­ture: David Baylis www. com­mu­ni­typix. com. au d481377

Kan­ga­roos can no longer be fed at John For­rest Tav­ern.

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