A PLAN to extend the rabbit-proof fence in Western Australia's south is being opposed by several conservation groups.Now known as the State Barrier Fence, it runs 1170km from near Kalbarri in the Mid West region to Ravensthorpe in the far south of the state, and is designed to stop emus and dingoes from moving onto nearby farms in the Wheatbelt region.
A 165km extension is under construction and a further 500km to 730km is being planned north of Esperance.
Groups including the Conservation Council of WA and Pew Environment Group labelled the WA Government plan an outdated and inhumane approach to managing the interaction between wildlife and agriculture.
"Wildlife need to move around in order to feed and breed," Gondwana Link director Keith Bradby said.
"I have seen animals caught in the existing fence, who die painful and slow deaths."
BirdLife Australia conservation manager Jenny Lau said the fence could lead to the death of thousands of emus in migration years, prevent dingo re-establishment and destroy at least 1000 hectares of bushland.
"At a time when most governments are working to improve wildlife corridors, the WA Government's plans to create a massive wildlife barrier, deliberating fragmenting the world's largest remaining intact temperate woodland is both puzzling and disturbing," Ms Lau said.