#Animal Rights
Department of Sustainability and Environment

Mt Disappointment State Forest, some 60 km north of Melbourne, straddles the Great Dividing Range.

The forest is home to many species of wildlife. It is also a popular riding, scenic driving, walking, picnic and camping destination. Motorcycles and 4WDs also access the forest.

Recently, the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE), instigated the development of 2 areas within the forest where trail bikes (motorcycles) could be unloaded. The DSE proposes to alert targeted members of the community of these areas via registration renewals, Internet forums, articles and advertisements in trail bike magazines, TV promotions. All of which will, no doubt, bring a lot more motorcyclists to Mt Disappointment State Forest.

This will present the animals of the forest with a number of additional dangers:

- increased traffic on forest trails, posing threat of injury, death or babies left as orphans. This includes traffic on “voluntary exclusion zones” where access is not legally prohibited;

- increased disruption to their daily lives;

- increased pollution in the habitat;

- likely increased amount of rubbish in their environment;

- likely increased noise level, despite DSE’s proposed “noise reporting system” and also because proposed “low noise zones” rely ONLY on rider goodwill.

The animals of this forest have the right to quality of life. The DSE needs to protect them in their natural habitat by creating areas of safety and respecting their rights and needs. Any less would be disappointing to say the least…

We, the undersigned, urge the DSE of Victoria, to ensure that the wildlife of Mt Disappointment will not be further endangered and to cancel the introduction of 2 unloading areas for trail bikes.

Furthermore, that the DSE erect multiple signs along existing bikes tracks, indicating the presence of wild life and provide emergency numbers in the event of injury to any wildlife. We also strongly suggest fines for any bike rider who fails to notify wildlife authorities when they have injured an animal whilst riding.
That such information be made available in the proposed “Forest Notes” information sheets and on the proposed Information Boards etc.

We ask that “pockets” of the forest remain closed to all bikes (and 4WDs) i.e. that “Voluntary exclusion zones” become “Absolute exclusion zones”, allowing animals some habitat free from the dangers posed by motorcycle activity. That these be rotated, if necessary, to allow regeneration and health of the environment.
Fines to be issued for bike riders who trespass on these areas.

That in carrying out the proposed educational “high level compliance operations”, that information about wildlife safety and rights ALSO be conveyed to the public

We also ask the DSE, in liaising with VicRoads, to implement a speed limit of 60-80 km along North and South Mountain Rds, and Spur Rd, to minimize the risk of injury to wildlife present on these roads.

We also call on the DSE, to establish a significant “trail bike/4WD/shooting free” zone at the South Mountain Rd entrance to the forest, that other recreational pursuits (e.g. birdwatching, walking, horse riding) can be enjoyed in peace AND safety. That the unloading of any trail bikes be established well beyond this “safety zone”.

The Animals in Australian state forests need protection from motorbikes petition to Department of Sustainability and Environment was written by Anonymous and is in the category Animal Rights at GoPetition.