Greens senator Peter Whish-Wilson has a dramatic idea to protect penguins in a protected part of Tasmania's coastline -- crack marksmen to kill the other animals harming the birds.
Whish-Wilson was out on Wednesday morning responding to the discovery of 14 dead penguins on Sunday night by a resident of Stanley, in Tasmania's north-west. It is believed the birds were killed by dogs. Whish-Wilson wants action.
"It is time to take stronger action than mitigation measures to make it harder for dogs to get into penguin burrows," he said, according to the Mercury newspaper.
"We could train guard dogs to protect the penguin burrows as has been done in some other places or we could, like they did in 2009 and 2015 in Sydney, hire professional snipers to shoot rogue dogs."
Greens Senator Peter Whish-Wilson wants a sniper to be installed on a beach at Stanley, after a dog apparently killed 14 penguins #politas— Ellen Coulter (@ellencoulter) June 1, 2016
As Whish-Wilson notes, the idea of hiring snipers to protect penguins is not without precedent. In 2009, the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service employed marksmen to protect penguin populations at Manly and North Head, after several birds were killed by dogs.
"Residents in the [Sydney suburb of] North Head area were letterboxed and it was made very clear that if dogs were found in certain areas and certain times they would be shot," Whish-Wilson said.
"The little penguins simply cannot defend themselves against dogs."
The Huffington Post Australia confirmed the idea with Whish-Wilson's office, with a spokesperson citing the effectiveness of the idea in Sydney, as owners kept their dogs inside.
The senator's comments immediately sparked some silliness online.
and do you think the dogs will just lie there, watching their comrades take one in the neck? fuck no, they'll fight pic.twitter.com/lJlHzQLSms— M McKenzie-Murray (@feed_the_chooks) June 1, 2016
ADVISOR: We're trying to win votes and everyone's obsessed with ape shooting. What do we do?— Colley (@JamColley) June 1, 2016
GREENS SENATOR: Get me my rifle and a pooch.
Maybe try some dog biscuits and a lead before resorting to gunfire? https://t.co/GLmRLAeFGl— Bernard Keane (@BernardKeane) June 1, 2016
How good is it going to be for the person who will get to put "dog sniper" on their resume https://t.co/qLvcOY2FB3— Dave Krantz (@weskrantz) June 1, 2016