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Setting ‘opera house’ nets to catch yabbies is not only inhumane, it may be illegal, with hefty penalties attached.
The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) is urging the public not to use opera house nets in Victorian public waters these Summer holidays after 13 platypus deaths this year from drowning in illegally set opera house nets in Victoria.
DELWP Senior Wildlife Investigator, Mike Sverns platypus are an iconic Australian species that are declining.
“To lose 13 platypus in one year is tragic,” Mr Sverns said.
He said it is illegal to use opera house nets in, or near Victorian public waters.
“These nets trap and prevent air breathing animals such as platypus, rakali (water rats), freshwater turtles and aquatic birds from escaping.”
“This summer holidays we are encouraging Victorians not to use enclosed yabby traps such as opera house nets and only use platypus safe alternatives such as the hoop or open top lift nets.”
As an incentive to report the illegal use of opera house nets the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA Australia) is offering a $5000 reward for information leading to the identification and conviction of anyone involved in the drowning death of a platypus with an enclosed yabby trap.
Under the Wildlife Act 1975 there are various penalties associated with taking or being in possession of protected wildlife or using prohibited equipment with maximum penalties of more than $38, 000 and/or 24 months imprisonment.
To report crimes against wildlife call Crime Stoppers confidentially on 1800 333 000 or online at https://www.crimestoppersvic.com.au/report-a-crime/

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