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By ANEEKA SIMONIS

WHAT is supposed to be a symbol of national pride is being culled by Yarra Ranges Council as they move to reduce wattle species in the area.
Hoddles Creek resident Peter Mauger lives on several acres that are filled with about 50 different wattle species which he believes are ecologically significant to the area.
“They provide a great habitat for seed eating birds and possums like to scratch the bark.
“Birds are already getting scarce in the area.
“We are going to continue losing them by denying wattles as a food source,” he said.
Mr Mauger said it was a shame the species, which is Australia’s national floral emblem, “is no longer a symbol of pride”, particularly given the all but forgotten National Wattle Day on 1 September.
Though he understands some wattles are a weed species, Mr Mauger said that the local council “has not discriminated between poisoning weed species and non-weed species” when removing the plants.
Council Director of Environment and Engineering Mark Varmalis said the cull has been targeting certain wattle species which pose a danger to the environment.
“Some of these wattle species are becoming problematic outside their natural ranges, populating in bushland, roadsides and cleared land.
“Wattle species remain one of the highest threats to environmental assets in the Yarra Ranges,” Mr Varmalis said.
However Mr Mauger said this has not been the case on or around his property where he has lived for more than 35 years.
“The council is clearing the wattles because they think they may take over but they haven’t gotten out of control on my property – they are naturally pruned by the birds,” he said.
Born in Japan, Waka Kinjo has lived in the Hoddles Creek area for the past four months and said wattles give a great vibrancy to the area.
“They add so much colour and wildlife to the area. It would be sad without wattles to brighten the area,” she said.

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