The clearing of native vegetation, whether remnant or regrowth, represents the most significant cause of mortality of wildlife in Queensland. The concept of “extinction debt” relates to the likelihood of species extinctions sometime in the future as a result of passing a threshold of habitat loss and/or impact. Extinction of rare species from habitat fragments in Queensland has been documented as occurring rapidly from small fragments or more slowly (over decades) from larger habitat fragments. Aside from the long‐term ecological consequences of such a massive loss of wildlife, there are serious animal welfare issues associated with the methods used in the clearing of vegetation while animals are present. Although some animals may be killed instantaneously, it is likely that a much larger proportion suffer painful, distressing or prolonged deaths. Furthermore, displaced animals that survive the process of clearing may be subject to misadventure, motor vehicle trauma, starvation or attack by other animals or predators. A Draft Code of Practice "Code of Practice for the Welfare of Wild Animals Affected by Land‐Clearing and Other Habitat Impacts and Wildlife Spotter/Catchers" was written by Dr Jon Hanger and Ben Nottidge, however the government has not formally recognised this code of practice and Queensland's wildlife is paying the price. This document provides the necessary protection to wildlife as a result of land clearing through the specification of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for wildlife spotter/catchers, aimed at ensuring consistency and effectiveness of practice; and guidelines to assist developers and others in their legal and ethical obligations to minimise injury, hardship, suffering or death to wild animals, associated directly or indirectly with land‐clearing and other development processes. To read the draft Code of Practice, visit: https://www.voiceless.org.au/sites/default/files/WWW2005_Project%20Steward%20Submission.pdf
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