BREAKING: Update on death-row animals at Coast wildlife park
THREE animals, scheduled to be taken from the Fraser Coast Wildlife Sanctuary and destroyed, will live to fight another few days, the Chronicle can reveal.
But their plight is far from over with the trio still tipped to be shipped from their home at a local wildlife park to Brisbane.
It comes after Wide Bay MP Llew O'Brien called on the Queensland premier to intervene and save Rosie the brushtail possum, Comet the kookaburra and Squeak the tawny frogmouth.
The trio have minor disabilities but according to the sanctuary and Mr O'Brien, have been cleared by a vet as being otherwise healthy and pain-free.
Under state laws, wild animals who are in pain or have no prospect of release after rehabilitation can be euthanased.
The animals were due to be handed over by Tuesday and destroyed.
The Chronicle understands the Queensland Department of Environment is still seeking to seize the animals and take them to Brisbane.
There, they will be assessed by a vet and if the vet deems them "not able to be released to the wild/suitable for display" they will then be subject to a process which is managed by an independent board, to see if they can be "re-homed" with an exhibitor in Queensland.
A spokesman for the premier's office told the Chronicle "the premier will reply to Mr O'Brien in due course".
"The premier's office passed on Mr O'Brien's letter to the office of the Environment Minister and this is the action that has resulted.
"Because these animals are unable to be properly rehabilitated, a Queensland Species Management Plan is required which may be possible following the upcoming assessment."
Mr O'Brien said the suggestion the animals should still be sent to Brisbane was "ridiculous" and "another example of the Queensland Government being run by bureaucrats and not elected representatives".
"We have very committed and passionate volunteers here at the Fraser Coast Wildlife Sanctuary who have cared for these animals for years and have probably cared for more native animals than some quasi-nature bureaucrat in Brisbane," he said
"You can't tell me that it wouldn't be a cheaper option for the taxpayer to have a vet from the department travel to Maryborough to assess the situation than to transport the animals to Brisbane where volunteers at the sanctuary fear they may never hear or see them again.
"They should stay in their familiar environment and continue to be cared for by the people who know them."
More to come.