Mundaring prescribed burn causes death of wedge-tailed eagle chicks

Ornithologist Simon Cherriman tracks birds using a GPS transmitter and (inset) one of the dead chicks.Picture: David Baylis         www.communitypix.com.au   d440293
Mundaring prescribed burn causes death of wedge-tailed eagle chicks
Ornithologist Simon Cherriman tracks birds using a GPS transmitter and (inset) one of the dead chicks.Picture: David Baylis        www.communitypix.com.au d440293

Simon Cherriman said the deaths of the unborn eaglets, who fell from their nest and died before they had a chance to hatch, was a tragic outcome in Mt Helena which could have been prevented.

�Fire management practices in our forests need to improve so they don�t have the same outcome as the Parkerville bushfires in 2014,� he said.

�As well as countless other native animals and highly important habitat trees which are hundreds of years old, the death of these eagles is a clear example of why we need to place emphasis on taking a community approach to fuel-load reduction.

�Pressure on authorities to conduct burning activities without proper planning or impact minimisation has left two devastated birds of prey circling their nest site, screaming for their loss.�

He was concerned the recent prescribed burn was �yet another example of humanity�s hypocrisy and inability to be consistent with its own supposed laws�.

�If we are serious about existing legislation to protect wildlife and animal welfare, then we as a society must act to ensure this legislation is adhered to.�

Mr Cherriman said he was devastated when he discovered the prescribed burn reached 25m into the forest canopy in Mt Helena, killing the eaglets when they fell to the burning understory.

�Research has shown that eagle productivity in WA can be very low, and possibly only 10 per cent of birds which fledge from their nest will survive to adulthood,� he said.

�I�m not blaming the department,� he said.

�They are doing their best.�