Working to keep our wildlife safe, including Melbourne’s famous peregrine falcons!

Working to keep our wildlife safe, including Melbourne’s famous peregrine falcons!
Ellen Sandell

We’re incredibly lucky in Melbourne to share our city home with some amazing wildlife, including the charismatic peregrine falcons who nest each year high on the top of a building in the CBD.

If anyone is not familiar with this story, each year a pair of falcons nest and raise their young at 367 Collins St. They’ve been nesting here since 1991 and each year all the action is caught on camera and live streamed. It’s just delightful watching the chicks hatch, grow and take their first flight.

But unfortunately, in Victoria, many of our native birds like falcons, owls and eagles are at risk of poisoning due to what are called “second generation” rodent poisons. These poisons are widely sold in supermarkets and hardware stores but can harm native wildlife (and even pet cats and dogs) when they eat poisoned rats and mice.

I recently shone a light on this issue in the Victorian Parliament, moving some new laws to prevent the sale of these dangerous poisons.

 

The good news is there are effective alternatives available! We have wildlife-safe rat poisons (called “first-generation” rodenticides). But unfortunately, there is no easy way for an ordinary person like you or I to tell the difference between the wildlife-safe poisons and the dangerous ones, without looking at the long list of complicated ingredients on the packet.

 

Confusingly, many of the dangerous poisons and the wildlife-safe poisons have the same brand names – such as RatSak. Often the dangerous ones are labelled with things like “fast-acting”. They both work to kill rats and mice, so we don’t need to use the dangerous second-generation poisons in our homes.

In Europe and the US, where this is also a big issue, governments have banned the general sale of harmful second-generation poisons, while still allowing farmers to access them with strict conditions. The laws I proposed in the Victorian Parliament would have done the same here.

I’m sorry to say that the Victorian Labor Government didn’t support the new laws this time, but in good news it has promised to investigate this important threat to our wildlife, and I am hopeful that we will see action soon.

If you’d like to know more about the issue so you can avoid buying the dangerous poisons, there’s a good guide at actforbirds.org/ratpoison.

The Greens and I will continue the fight to protect Victoria’s native species. We recently launched our plan to restore nature which we will take to the November state election.

Our plan includes a $1 billion per year “Zero Extinction Fund” to restore habitat and fund the recovery of Victoria’s 2000 native plant, animal, bird and fish species facing extinction. You can find out more about our plan here: greens.org.au/vic/zero-extinction.

If there is anything my team and I can help you with, please get in touch at [email protected].

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