Daily Advertiser letters to the editor, March 16

ON THE PROWL: The feral cat population, and over-zealous farmers, are having a devastating impact on the environment, according to a letter writer.

ON THE PROWL: The feral cat population, and over-zealous farmers, are having a devastating impact on the environment, according to a letter writer.

Absent without logic

IN THE quiz section of the Advertiser on February 28, I noticed a question on the abbreviation A.W.O.L.

Being a member of the armed services for a period of 25 years prior to 1975, the term was for Absent Without (one word) Leave.

My question is to any of your readers, can anyone clarify as to whether the term has been changed from A.W.L to A.W.O.L, or is this an Americanisation through movies etc?

I believe the US forces term is Absent Without Official Leave.

Matthew (Toby) Kolls

Wagga

Heavy-handed destruction

I ENCLOSE some comments regarding large area grain growers and the effect they are having on the environment by destroying everything in the way of their farming equipment. 

Also some comments regarding feral cats, a huge problem which should be tackled by all levels of government as they are a huge problem.

In recent months, we have heard a lot of good work being done by Landcare groups and others interested in looking after the environment.

On the other hand, we have the opposite thing happening.

I refer to the large-scale clearing of native vegetation by grain growers, mostly box and gum trees.

Many of these trees are centuries-old paddock trees, retained by previous mixed farmers for shade for their livestock.

Many of these trees are hollow trees which are home and breeding places for many birds, including parrots, galahs, kookaburras and ducks.

They are also essential for the survival of goannas, possums, bats etc as well as beehives.

Larger area grain growers have been buying smaller mixed farms and in most cases seem to destroy most of the trees and internal fences, even buildings and filling in dams.

Because they have no livestock, they don’t need shade trees, fences or water.

Larger corporations, superannuation funds and banks are buying larger areas and are doing the same thing in a larger way. I believe they get away with clearing native timber by agreeing to plant replacement trees.

But no matter how many young trees are planted, the centuries-old hollow trees cannot be replaced. It takes 300 to 400 years for trees to develop hollows.

When we look at the big picture, far too much land-clearing has been done and I believe that all clearing should be stopped immediately.

If the present rate of reckless destruction continues much longer, there will be no need for regulations – there will be nothing left to save.

In recent years, there has been a sharp decline in the number of birds in the area around Lockhart.

Several species of parrots which were plentiful a few years ago seem to have disappeared altogether, along with kookaburras and many small birds.

There are still a few galahs where there used to be thousands.

I believe there are several reasons for the sharp decline – the ravages of feral and domestic cats, road kills, poisoning (intended for mice) but the biggest concern is the loss of habitat.

The feral cat population in Australia is estimated to be about 20 million.

Every now and again, governments make announcements of intended control measures of these pests but nothing happens, except surveys and monitoring of the situation.

On Kangaroo Island, there are strong moves to eradicate every cat on the island – feral and domestic – and I believe this should happen all over Australia as soon as possible.

AW Matthews

Wagga 

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