Crop protection permits for wombats in West Tamar revoked to protect against mange

Three permits allowing for the culling of wombats in the West Tamar have been revoked in an effort to save the mange-ravaged population

On Thursday, Primary Industries Minister Jeremy Rockliff said no new crop protection permits would be issued in the West Tamar zone, which is bounded by the Tamar, Meander and Rubicon rivers, until the local population had recovered to a sustainable level. 

Mr Rockliff said the permits were available to farmers to control wombat numbers, but had caused concern when issued in areas where wombats were suffering from the condition.

But Wombat Warriors founder John Harris said the problem needed to be addressed across the state, not just in the West Tamar. 

Mr Harris said there was no justification for shooting wombats on properties.

“The problem has been around for a while, we should have never issued [the permits],” he said.

“It’s nice that they actually understand the scale of the problems here, now they have to understand the scale of the problem everywhere else.

“It’s a welcome relief for wombats on the West Tamar but it’s got nothing in it for the wombats in Sorell and Nugent and New Norfolk – it’s a statewide disaster and it’s happening right now.” 

Mr Rockliff said only four permits were issued in 2017. 

“[The Department Of Primary Industries, Parks, Water And Environment] prioritises non-lethal measures and has tightened the process to ensure a crop protection permit for wombats is only considered as a method of last resort,” he said.

Mr Rockliff said the department would work with the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association to find alternative measures to manage wombats. 

Greens environment spokeswoman Andrea Dawkins said that while she welcomed the revocation of the permits, the announcement fell short of a real ban. 

“A ban on crop protection permits being issued for wombats is the only way to prevent localised extinction and ensure survival of the species,” Ms Dawkins said.