BirdLife Tasmania today joined the growing chorus of community and
business backlash against the absence of visitor management at the Bruny
Island Neck colony during road works and associated infrastructure
upgrades, describing the situation as a “colossal failure”.
The colony is home to several hundred pairs of Little Penguins and several
thousand pairs of Short-tailed Shearwaters (“Tasmanian Muttonbirds”), and
the uncontrolled trampling of burrows and damage to vegetation on site has
the potential to damage the colony for years to come, BirdLife Tasmania’s
Convenor, Dr Eric Woehler said today.
“Low numbers of penguins are present in the colony at the moment, and the
people walking through the colony can potentially crush the penguins in the
burrows” Dr Woehler said.
“Any impacts or damage to burrows and the vegetation in the colony could
have long-term devastating impacts on the viability of the colony” he added.
The colony is an important economic highlight for the island, drawing
thousands of visitors annually. The iconic image of the Neck from the lookout
is a “must have” for many visitors.
The visitors have been photographed by Bruny Island residents, bypassing
the fencing erected by Department of State Growth contractors undertaking
road works and associated upgrades.
“Where are the additional PWS staff to control the visitors who are
determined to enter the closed colony?”
“Where are the Tasmania Police to control the traffic, with vehicles parked
illegally and creating dangerous situations on arguably one of Tasmania’s
most dangerous stretches of road?”
“The current lack of protection to this remarkable, internationally-renowned
site is a sad indictment and a very clear reminder of the Tasmanian
Government’s priorities – where tourism is more important than Tasmania’s
precious and remarkable wildlife. The Tasmanian Government must make
these additional resources available immediately to protect protected
species, their habitats – and commercial interests on the island” said Dr
“These resources will protect the colony for future generations of Tasmanian
residents and visitors to enjoy, ensuring the penguins and shearwaters
continue to attract visitors for decades to come” Dr Woehler argued.
“The current hands-off approach to protecting Tasmanian wildlife by the
Tasmanian Government is unacceptable, but typical.” Dr Woehler concluded.
Dr Eric Woehler, BirdLife Tasmania