Scale of killings so great that long-term-impact on eagle population is unknown, conservation groups say
Thu 21 Nov 2019 17.00 GMTLast modified on Thu 21 Nov 2019 17.02 GMT
Conservation groups have called for a Victorian landowner to face charges under the Wildlife Act, after he admitted to his part in killing 420 wedge-tailed eagles over an 18-month period in the Bairnsdale magistrates court last week.
John Auer pleaded guilty to charges brought by the state Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions of misusing agricultural chemicals. He was fined $25,000 and received a 12-month good behaviour bond. He was also given a 12-month community corrections order.
Auer and former farmhand Murray Silvester, a New Zealand national, used the insecticide Lannate and other chemicals to poison the eagles at Tubbut in the Snowy Mountains between October 2016 and April 2018.
Silvester was sentenced to two weeks jail, fined $2,500 and deported last year. The penalty was criticised for its leniency at the time, despite the fact that it was the first custodial sentence ever handed down for destroying protected wildlife in Victoria.
Emails and text messages presented in evidence showed that Silvester was acting under the instruction of Auer. The Age reported that magistrate Simon Barnett described his offending as “calculated, unacceptable and disgraceful behaviour”.