Found by Tracey Lofthouse

Don’t feed magpies:  News travels slowly to us southerners. But as a former Canberran I was sad to learn that magpies are being trapped and killed at Gungahlin. The aggressive birds had grown used to getting food from humans. Now, after the cull, what have the authorities done to stop people from feeding the birds and perpetuating the problem? It seems warning signs alone are ineffective. How about making it an offence to feed magpies, at least in the problem locality? Patrol the area, impose serious fines, and publicise the results.
The alternative is to encourage more irresponsible behaviour, and make innocent birds suffer. Canberra needs tourists and its natural environment is a drawcard.
Don’t poison your image by killing native birds!  –  Mary Wilkinson, Surrey Hills, Vic
From: au/comment/ct-letters/csiro- and-abc-are-pillars-of-our- society-that-need-

How to escape when a magpie attacks you:   It’s magpie swooping season again. There are many suggestions on how to deal with this. But as someone who walks in the bush and cycles regularly, I find the best solution is to wear a hat/helmet and wraparound sunglasses and then ignore the magpies. If a magpie dives, don’t look around, alter speed or acknowledge its existence. Amazing how they cease to be scary when one does this; even those like the very persistent one that dived me closely, often past my face, a dozen or so times as I cycled towards Queanbeyan, or the one that thumped hard into my helmet near Albert Hall.
None of them were scary, because I wore a bicycle helmet and wraparound glasses. If walking, wear a wide-brimmed sunhat, which works too. The magpie will eventually go away. I find the magpie will stop diving sooner if you don’t acknowledge it. I have on occasions turned around to look after they have stopped diving, and seeing me look, the magpie has begun attacking again. No, pretend you haven’t noticed them. –  Julie Macklin, Narrabundah
From: au/comment/ct-letters/sprawl- threatens-ginninderra-falls- 20150917-gjpase.html# ixzz3oh4Q6dfi

CRIME AGAINST LIFE:  Why is the government’s first response to inconvenient wildlife that of killing the “offenders”? The latest being magpies. This is a crime against life. Who can protect them from the vested interests of lawmakers? – H. Leigh, Farrer

Hunting wildlife for trophies an abhorrent business:  Anyone with even a modicum of concern for the future of the world’s wildlife will feel both anguish and sadness at the recent killing of a well-known nature park lion in Zimbabwe. The 13-year-old lion, known as Cecil, was a tourist favourite in Hwange National Park, but was lured out of the park so a hunter could shoot the beast with a crossbow. The wounded lion didn’t die until 40 hours later, when the hunters tracked him down and shot him with a rifle. They then skinned him and cut off his head.
The hunter, an American dentist, had reportedly paid $US50,000 for permission to hunt outside the park. Attractive as such income must be to the authorities, surely it is time to end this cruel activity; or does it finish when there are no more lions left to kill?  –  John Sever, Higgins
From: au/comment/ct-letters/hunting- wildlife-for-trophies-an- abhorrent-business-20150731- gip46c.html#ixzz3j2YBQ1D6

Stop the cull:  The ACT government has trapped another magpie, this time in Dunlop. They received a complaint the magpie was swooping. Now, no doubt, the magpie is dead. And the babies he was protecting will, no doubt, also die. The newly created hotline to report so-called aggressive magpies is now doing what was feared, encouraging people to complain instead of learning to live with the wildlife. The ACT government has simply succeeded in making more people fearful.
It used to be that most Canberrans were prepared to live with wildlife in the so-called bush capital. Now, instead, like the government, they prefer to see the animals dead.  – Carolyn Drew, Page

Cull of magpies is an epic fail for the ACT:  Last Thursday’s magpie cull at Yerrabi Ponds is an epic fail for the Bush Capital (“Magpie cull prompted by theft of food from child’s mouth”, September 5, p3).
The excuse used by ACT Parks and Conservation that they were looking after public safety is laughable. What threat to life and limb does a magpie really present to a human being of any age? Besides frightening people with their flapping wings and there being some risk of a scratch or two being received, what harm can these birds really do to a person?
While Daniel Iglesias, director of ACT Parks and Conservation, claims in an interview with The Canberra Times that if his agency “didn’t act a child could have lost an eye” the actual probability of that happening is in statistical terms non-existent given the number of magpies in Australia and that only one or two such injuries have been reported in the last decade. The cull is a gross overreaction to a minor inconvenience for a few people by a department and a minister more concerned about pandering to a few vocal naturephobes than conversation.
The decision to undertake a cull smacks of bureaucratic overreach.
Since when has an animal’s “pestering” people for food become a crime with a sentence of death attached to it?
The hyperbole used by Daniel Iglesias to describe the magpies in his interview was disturbing.  –  Brad Rogers, Weston

Canberra is fortunate to have so many Australian birds. Are we to destroy all native species that annoy us, keep us awake or make a mess?
If magpies are being a nuisance, it is surely not too much to expect that people use a little sense and move away from them.  –  Alan N.Cowan, Yarralumla au/comment/ct-letters/ wobblies-wear-thin-20150907- gjh7mj.html#ixzz3mchIzbdh

Judge and jury:  Here they go again, although this time the ACT government is culling magpies (“Magpie cull prompted by theft of food from child’s mouth”, September 5, p3). In killing these magpies they also threaten the lives of other magpies. Magpie young generally need both parents to help them survive. Magpies have only one clutch a year and it takes at least eight months to incubate and raise them to independence. The parents also depend on others such as older siblings to help raise the young. The killing puts the eggs and young at risk.
Does the government understand the distress they will have caused the mates and other family members? No. But then they don’t care, do they? The animal becomes a mere object to be dispatched. The psychopathy leaves one gasping.
How did they know which magpie was the “criminal” who dared to steal food from a child? I doubt they would know, hence they killed seven of them just in case. How anthropocentric.
They set themselves up as judge and jury and condemn magpies to death for what they consider misbehaviour. They don’t bother to stop, and think the issue through. Oh no, they are all too “trigger” happy and decide killing is the first and only solution.  –  Carolyn Drew, Page

Habitats bulldozed:  The ACT government, quite rightly, is determined to have all cats confined. This decision is also applauded by the Conservation Council. But neither have mentioned the terrible damage done to the ecosystem and the animals that live within it by the building of new suburbs in the first place.

Whole swaths of ecosystem (including pasture lands) are bulldozed and built over. I assure you, this also kills the animals that live within these areas; animals, no doubt in their thousands, such as lizards, snakes, insects, birds who live in the grasses and in the trees, plant life, all destroyed or displaced by development.

Yet no one poses this as a problem. Whilst we insist on our anthropocentric solutions, the natural environment and non-human species that  live within it are under constant threat.   –  Carolyn Drew, Page

PICTURE SAID IT ALL:  The pic that illustrated Meg McKone’s tetchy letter (Horses pose threat) of glorious, free mountain horses, tails and manes flying in the high country winds, said it all. The mountain horses are national icons. Good on you, NSW Member for Monaro John Barilaro for welcoming the announcement to rule out the cruel and unnecessary aerial cull.

The mountain horses are descendants of the tough, handsome “walers” that carried the Anzacs into battle, including at the charge at Beersheba — they are absolutely worthy of our respect, compassion and protection. No frog, in my book, Meg, can match that.  –  Christina Faulk, Swinger Hill

CULL STAND LAUDED:  Meg McKone will be comforted to know there is no evidence to show the wild horses are in danger of killing the Corroboree frogs or destroying the bogs they live in (Comment, December 29).

Evidence does show however that the frogs breed in the pug marks (footprints) the horses leave behind and, in some areas where there are no longer horses, ceramic imitations of the pug marks have been used with limited success.

The immediate threats to the frogs is climate change drying out the bogs and disease, not the horses.

John Barilaro, NSW Member for Monaro, is to be congratulated for taking a stand against animal cruelty.

Aerial culling of any animal, native or not, is a cruel and unnecessary control method and would have had no positive impact on the lives of the Corroboree frog.  – Denise Parr, Anembo

Opposition to hunting:  The hundreds of Eurobodalla Shire residents from all walks of life who have protested in various ways against the Eurobodalla Shire council’s undemocratic decision to allow celebrations of hunting, with sale of guns, in a public building in seaside Narooma, do not not deserve to be called “members of a guerilla group” (The Canberra Times, December 24). On the contrary they represent the many Australians who are opposed to gun proliferation, and the indoctrination of children to think killing animals is “fun”.  –  Susan Cruttenden, Dalmeny

Land management:  Oh dear. The pro-culling ACT government will welcome the ANU research on reptiles and native grasslands (“Mobs of ravenous ‘roos eat endangered reptiles”, December12, p6) because it belatedly supports its kangaroo management policy. But to protect lizards, we apparently need grasslands over 20centimetres tall.
Surely, the fire ecologists will then tell us we have created a fire hazard, dangerously close to housing and other developments. We could potentially find ourselves with no kangaroos, no lizards and no grasslands. But, thankfully, there will always be plenty of human beings to make botched decisions on land management.  –  Lynda Graf, Garran

ROOS V REPTILES:  John Thistleton’s article on the proliferation of kangaroos and the subsequent “mowing” of the longer grasslands at the expense of cover for endangered lizards was very interesting (December 12, p6). My attention was drawn to the heading, “Mobs of ‘roos eat endangered reptiles”, which surprised me greatly, as I thought kangaroos were vegetarian.  –  Ian Towill, Fisher au/comment/ct-letters/katy- gallaghers-sad-legacy-of-cost- blowouts-20141215-127qav.html

LIVING WITH POSSUMS:  Learn to live with your local possums, Rosemary Matley (Letters, June 11). We’ve built on their land and knocked down many of the trees. Put up a tailor-made box (or two well separated boxes), make sure your roof is sound, protect your vegie garden with a non-rigid plastic border, and enjoy the company of these sweet animals. A tip though; don’t put a nesting box outside your bedroom window.

IF THE ANIMALS COULD TALK:  If circus families care for their animals so much (”Youngsters unite in the fun of the circus”, February 13, p3) then why do they use force to control them?

Why not let them roam around? If the animals of the Stardust circus were given a moment of freedom they would not walk into the tent freely and choose to perform these tricks.  –  Carolyn Drew, Page

NEW STADIUM DEBATE:  Before we can have a debate on the next Canberra Stadium, we need to know in what way the current one will be rendered obsolete in 10 years’ time.

Will parts of it be declared too dangerous for fans to sit in, like St George’s stadium in Sydney? It is reported to be ”dilapidated and crumbling after years of neglect”.

Or are we talking about its ability to host corporate supporters, media and, below the stadium, home and away sporting teams to the standard of our interstate rivals?

There’s a big difference between keeping up with the Joneses and having the roof fall on their heads.

Yuri Shukost, Isabella Plains We’re the worst Bruce Lindenmayer, Michael Mason and Timothy Walsh (Letters, November 29) should get some perspective – the biggest threat to the environment does not come from cats, dogs, pigs, deer, toads, foxes, rabbits and so on, it comes from the biggest feral species of all – us.

How about focusing on the damage we do for once. It’s all too easy to blame other species.

Humans are rarely ever punished for the damage they do to the environment. Indeed, more often they are invited by governments, through corporations, to continue the destruction, which we call development or progress. Once people start focusing on what humans are doing to the environment and start putting a stop to it, then and only then might I have some respect for people who point the finger at other species.   –  Carolyn Drew, Deakin

Deer Killers:  I’m more than a little bemused by Aaron Tucker’s description (Letters, September 1) of deer hunting as a ”legitimate, healthy, outdoor, conservation-based” activity.

Let’s break that down: ”Legitimate” – deer hunting is probably lawful, sadly, but reasonable or justifiable?

Not when you consider deer as sentient animals who value their lives and will certainly suffer when the hunter’s first shot is less than 100per cent accurate.

”Healthy” and ”outdoor” – both would apply to a bush-walk carried out without the violence and killing.

”Conservation-based” – now here’s the cracker.

The Australian Deer Association’s interest in conservation is focused on conserving enough deer for its members to kill.

The association’s website states that it was ”formed specifically to better the deer’s status and to ensure its perpetuity as a free roaming game animal”.

I have to admit a total lack of understanding of anyone who can regard the wanton killing of another being as a legitimate, healthy recreational activity.

Finally, I’d have expected the vice- president of the ACT branch of the association to have identified himself in his self-serving letter – or is that a different Aaron Tucker?  –  Mike O’Shaughnessy, Spence