National Parks defends penguin fire
The National Parks and Wildlife Service has defended its hazard reduction burn at a New South Wales far south coast sea bird sanctuary.The State Opposition's Environment Spokeswoman, Catherine Cusack, says the move to rid Montague Island, near Narooma, of kikuyu grass should have been postponed, until sniffer dogs were available to find isolated penguins.
But the Service's southern region manager, Tim Shepherd, says precautions had been taken to find stray birds before the program began.
He says while the loss of the penguins is regretted, the colony is now better able to cope in the future.
"We do a very thorough search through very, very thick, sometime metre-high kikuyu before locating about 70 birds," Mr Shepherd said.
"This year, unfortunately, we missed a few and unfortunately there were 13 animals that perished but at the same time maybe hundreds of birds from the burn program will be saved."