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WRAP media release - 23 October 2020

Government ramps up steps to scare off eagles

Confirmation by the Government that it has used a helicopter to scrutinise the wedge-tail eagle's nest at the Brushy Rivulet reserve has come as a shock to prison opponents.

"The helicopter flying over the nest was actually reported directly to me by a nearby resident. It hovered low over the nest for some time, and an eagle was seen flying above it."

The helicopter was preceded by a fixed wing aircraft circling over the nest on Monday. This aircraft (Cessna Reg. No. VH-TSP) flew out of Cambridge directly to the site and then returned to Cambridge.

The Forest Practices Authority Technical Note 1 on eagle nest searching, activity checking and nest management itself stipulates that:

It is extremely important to ensure that nest sites remain undisturbed from July-January.... to minimise the risk of nest desertion at all sites".

Activity checks of individual nests may be conducted by trained planners in the second week of November or later.

Fixed wing aircraft must be used for aerial nest activity checks while helicopters are preferred for nest searches".

It goes on to say that "There should be no helicopters used within 1 km of a known nest during the management constraint period 9 July-Jan) unless in an emergency situation such as fire-fighting or if the nest is known to be inactive."

In its own report on monitoring in 2018/2019, FPA stated that it had started using helicopters to survey nests due to safety concerns with using fixed wing aircraft, but the increased costs associated with this had eliminated November surveys.

"So this supposed nest activity survey was conducted at the wrong time, using two separate aircraft including a helicopter hovering low above the nest and directly in contravention of FPA's own standards.

The Government has today claimed that it is part of an annual FPA practice, whereas in fact the annual survey was eliminated last year.

"The Tasmanian Government's capacity to lie to the Tasmanian public appears to be unlimited".

Linda Poulton
President, WRAP Inc


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