Halt­ing the de­cline in dugong num­bers

Townsville Bulletin - - News -

DUGONG PRO­TEC­TORS: Ken­ton Camp­bell, Eco­force Founder, Ewen Jones, MP and Greg Hunt, Shadow Min­is­ter for Cli­mate Ac­tion and En­vi­ron­ment at The Strand DUGONGS can grow to three me­tres long and weigh 400 kilo­grams but sur­pris­ingly, the dis­tinc­tive an­i­mal may soon be hard to spot.

Eco­force founder, Ken­ton Camp­bell, is be­hind a push to stop their dwin­dling num­bers from drop­ping fur­ther and has just doc­u­mented re­search from in­dige­nous com­mu­ni­ties e x p l a i ni ng t he rea­son for the species’ de­cline.

The data also in­cluded in­for­ma­tion on de­clin­ing turtle num­bers and was yes­ter­day pre­sented to Cli­mate Ac­tion and En­vi­ron­ment shadow mi n i s t e r G r e g H u n t i n Townsville.

Mr Camp­bell said the find­ings had given re­searchers a wealth of in­for­ma­tion into the is­sue of a mora­to­rium on dugong and turtle hunt­ing.

‘‘ Con­ver­sa­tions were held with coun­cil may­ors and con­cerned tribal el­ders on is­sues that would af­fect their cul­ture if a pro­posed mora­to­rium was placed on the hunt­ing of dugongs and tur­tles for tra­di­tional needs.

‘‘ The idea that in­dige­nous peo­ple in North Queens­land were il­le­gally hunt­ing, killing and sell­ing dugong and turtle meat for profit were put t o many i ndige­nous lead­ers and with­out ex­cep­tion all agreed that strong p u n i s h m e n t s h o u l d b e mea­sured out to those caught in the prac­tice of il­le­gal meat trade.’’

Mr Hunt said the Coali­tion had writ­ten to Premier Bligh in­sist­ing that she re­fer the poach­ing and sale of an­i­mal meat to the Crime and Mis­con­duct Com­mis­sion.

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