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Aug 17

Aussie Seal Killer Vows To Continue

Aussie seal killer

Ngarrindjeri elder Darrell Sumner faces two years’ jail for killing long-nosed fur seals in the Coorong to protect totems. Picture: Kelly Barnes Source: News Corp Australia

Aussie seal killer vows to continue

An Aboriginal elder culling fur seals amid govern­ment inaction over their invasion of the Coorong and Murray lakes faces fines of up to $100,000 or two years’ jail as part of an Environment Department investigation.

Aussie seal killer Darrell Sum­ner has publicly admitted killing at least four seals by clubbing them to death or chopping them with his boat propeller.

The resident of Meningie, a town at the northern end of the Coorong on the shores of Lake Albert­, said he had a “cultural respon­sibility” to protect pelicans, swans, terns and musk ducks, significant indigenous totems, from being “slaughtered” by long-nosed fur seals.

More than 200 long-nosed fur seals are wreaking havoc on native animals­ and fish stocks, leading to calls from the opposition, fishing industry and traditional landowners for a humane shooting cull. The fur seal population in South Australia has increased to more than 100,000.

A spokesman for South Australian Environment Minister Ian Hunter, who has ruled out a cull, confirmed Mr Sumner was being investigated for killing a protected species.

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“Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources compliance officers have been in contact with Mr Sumner as part of their investigation,” he said. “It would be inappropriate to discuss further specifics of this case.”

A defiant and frustrated Mr Sumner said he was prepared to go to jail and did not plan to stop his cull until the government took appropriate action. (We hope he goes directly to jail without passing begin)

“I’ll be culling them, so they can jail me … or I’ll just stay out all night and kill more,” Mr Sumner said. “It makes me sick. We don’t go killing animals just for the fun. But I have been out doing that because as a Ngarrindjeri elder I have responsibil­ities to our totems … I’ve taken this action to get things rolling. They either arrest me over it or we cull all the seals.”

He described the Coorong as “dead space with no birdlife” since the seals had come to a region “they’ve never belonged in”.

FACT – Seals have traditionally lived in the Coorong. They were wiped out by early colonialists and are only now making a comeback. They are attracted to the region by fishing trawlers in the hope of an easy meal. 

He was seeking legal advice after having been interviewed by environment compliance officers.

“This is not just about killing seals, this is about the protection of Aboriginal culture and totems,” he said. “I am 69 and I don’t care about this white man’s law to protect seals — they are a pest, the wild dogs of the water.”

Liberal agriculture parliamentary secretary Adrian Pederick, who has stalled legislation in parliament to sanction a cull, said authorities should caution Mr Sumner rather than prosecute.

“I can understand the frustration of the whole community, and there are others taking simil­ar action because the government has failed to act,” Mr Pederick said.

Gary Hera-Singh, president of the Southern Fishermen’s Association, has said the seals were chewing through more than 500 tonnes of fish a day across South Australia, with the industry set to go bust within 18 months unless the government allowed a cull.

The Weatherill government plans to spend $100,000 on a trial of non-lethal deterrents for seals.

Article from source

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