THE construction of King Island's Cape Wickham golf course has destroyed about 12,000 mutton bird nesting burrows, according to the Aboriginal Land Council of Tasmania.
Work on the multi-million dollar American designed 18-hole links course started in July.
Aboriginal Land Council of Tasmania chairman Clyde Mansell has written to the federal government asking it to intervene and stop the destruction he said was approved by the King Island Council and the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment.
``I can't understand the basis for giving the approval to bulldoze these burrows, it is totally outrageous and unacceptable,'' Mr Mansell said.
``It is common knowledge that mutton birds return to the same burrow each year over their breeding life, which spans 30 and 40 years, it's a part of their natural instinct.
``How are they going to redirect the birds to a new nesting location, are they going to put signs up to redirect them - it's laughable.
``This rookery has existed for thousands of years, only to be destroyed in the name of progress.''
A department spokeswoman said it had been working with the proponent to minimise the impacts and the developer had several conditions it needed to abide by.
The spokeswoman said a Shearwater Management Plan had been developed to mitigate distress to the birds and that shearwater sanctuaries remain in the area.
``Departmental staff will be present over the next couple of weeks to monitor the situation, although management of any relocation is the responsibility of the proponent,'' she said.
``Following on-site assessments, a permit was issued by the department to allow the removal of shearwater burrows in a section of the area to be developed prior to the arrival of the birds.
``The Australian government did not require this project to be assessed under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.''
Mr Mansell said the destruction of the burrows could destroy the breeding habitat of up 24,000 mutton birds, currently migrating from the Northern hemisphere for the next breeding season.
The course is expected to be complete sometime next year.