2 November 2022
I want to draw your attention to the message that has been posted on the Port Lincoln Osprey Observation Board.
“Today will be a tough day for all.
This is a wild nest. Whatever happens happens. And it happens for a reason. The main point is survival. And that means the first priority for mum is with #1, and then #2.
It’s been hard on the birds these past few days.. And there was little food, and both the kids and the parents are hungry. Hopefully there will be enough fish today to recover. The weather is looking up, but even today there will be lots of wind.
Intervention is out of the question at this moment. There are very strict policies about intervening. So don’t ask.. Anything that is possible will be done. Be assured of that.
I ask you to keep a check on the chat. Stay positive and if that’s hard.. Don’t be too negative. But making speculations and criticisms doesn’t benefit anyone.
Especially the people working hard in Port Lincoln and are more concerned than anyone I can imagine. They need our support! Not our advice (however well meant that might be)!”
I am aching and hurting like all of you. If there was something positive we could do at this stage to change the situation at Port Lincoln, I would absolutely tell you. What I can say is that if there is anyway to help Middle, I believe that Janet Forster will be able to do it and if she can’t, no one else can. She has made this entire project at Port Lincoln work and has expanded it.
The legislation regarding intervention is very restrictive. Port Lincoln Ospreys applied for licenses and there were many restrictions placed on them. They cannot break the law or they will lose the right to have the streaming cam, put up platforms and have the streaming cam.
It is the laws that regulate the permissions and licenses that needs changing. In order to do that, politicans must understand that the life of our sea birds has changed based on the current state of the climate and the oceans. It is not just the laws in South Australia but, everywhere. They were written in an era of non-intervention at a time when humans did not understand how much we have altered the ability to exist for the wildlife of our planet.
John Watson is the head of Sea Shepherd. He is a Canadian committed to taking direct action on the high seas to ending the slaughter of endangered and threated marine wildlife. I am so proud he is a Canada. Watson will tell you that the oceans are depleting at an alarming rate. “Marine life is disappearing right before our eyes” is his mantra. Watson is concerned about the animals – I am concerned about the availability of fish for our sea birds.
It is also the fish in the seas that feed the sea birds like our beloved ospreys, Albatross, and Sea Eagles need to eat to stay alive that are also being depleted by human action. If the oceans were teeming with fish, Dad and Mum would not have trouble getting fish on the nest except in circumstances where the weather just doesn’t allow them out to fish. This is when we need the intervention statues to allow for feeding at the nest. This has happened in other jurisdictions such as the UK and Canada. In Canada, one attempt was unsuccessful because they used frozen fish. Fresh fish caught can be dead but never frozen; Ospreys have not shown they are willing to eat fish that has been frozen.
We may not be able to get fish on the nest to save our beloved Middle (although I hope beyond hope that something positive happens today). If you feel so inclined you might want to write to the Minister of the Environment and Water for South Australia to consider the wildlife acts and allow for interventions in situations like Middle. He is 43 days old today and completely feathered. If he were retrieved too near fledge he might bolt and drown and so might Big. It is an opportune time but permissions and legislations grind on for years, if not decades. It is seldom hours or minutes unless the permissions are in hand prior to an event. The laws are out of touch with the reality and urgency at the nests.
The new Minister of the Environment and Water is: The Honourable Tanya Plibersek, Minister for the Environment and Water. She won the seat in June as a member of the Labor Party but has close associations with the Greens. She could be the best chance that our Ospreys have in South Australia as the permits and the legislation go through her office.
I would like to point out that the Friends of Osprey chair is The Honourable David Speirs. You might recall that Ervie was named after the village in Scotland where he was born. Speirs is the former Minister of the Environment and Water and is now the Official Leader of the Opposition. On more than one occasion, Speirs has said that he is against intervention as has Ian Falkenberg, also one of the board of Friends of Osprey. Their reasons hinge on the existing wildlife act and permissions and permits, the fact that there is no place to care for an osprey in South Australia, and their understanding that ospreys do not do well in care. On this last point, I am attempting to collate evidence based information for them so that they might understand and rethink their position.
The morning has started in South Australia. The sea is calmer. Please send your very best wishes to Mum, Dad, Big, and Middle as they try their best to survive in miserable circumstances. We have to remember that the adults must eat and Mum has not had much fish either. So please…warm wishes.
Thank you for joining me. I hope to have better news tomorrow. I live in hope of miracles.