CHALLENGE: Media and the public became aware of and outraged by native wildlife culling on Hamilton Island, one of Australia’s leading island resorts, commencing with the story breaking on ABC TV and progressing to other media outlets and social media. However, there are certain animals, particularly introduced species, such as rock wallabies and possums, which multiply beyond sustainable levels for the Island’s fragile eco system.
STRATEGY: The crisis team, including Sefiani, issued a statement to the Island’s staff to inform them and help answer guests ’questions. It was based on the Islands detailed protected Wildlife Management Strategy developed with the Queensland Department of EHP. It was also placed on the company’s website. A statement from the Department of EHP was prepared and used in response to media and was posted on the Island’s Facebook page.
IMPACT: Hamilton Island was able to confirm it was behaving responsibly and operating within the strict guidelines of the QLD EHP and had the government’s full support. It also demonstrated the fragility of the Island’s unique environment and the detrimental impact of introduced species. As the story progressed in the media, Hamilton Island’s wildlife policy was quoted and the message that culling was used only as a last resort when all other methods were exhausted.