Re: Wildlife Harvesting

Subject: Re: Wildlife Harvesting
From: (Kim Sterelny)
Date: Thu, 6 Aug 1998 12:57:15 +1200
>On 8/3 David Geering wrote:
>"I have, however, yet to see anyone argue for any real positive outcomes
>arising from the harvesting of bird species, such as Red-tailed Black
>Steve Murphy replied
>"There is an argument that if we harvest and sell species which prone to
>illegal harvesting (like Red-tailed Blacks), then we will swamp the market,
>thereby reducing the incentive for illegal poaching."
>I'm not sure all that much large-scale poaching occurs of Red-tailed Black
>Cockatoos.  Please correct me if I'm wrong.  In any case, I think that the
>market would be swamped fairly quickly thus also reducing the cost of the
>birds on the open market and reducing the incentive to conserve the
>"resource".  One could argue that these large cockatoos are not generally
>readily bred in captivity thus ensuring a steady, if small, demand for wild
>caught birds. There are, however, specialist breeders (one very large
>concern in Singapore - article in Geo last year) that intensively breed and
>hand raise rare parrots and cockatoos on a mail order basis.  Using their
>multi-brooding techniques several pairs in this establishment would
>probably satisfy the market resulting in only short term gains to
>collectors in Australia.
>Are there any real long term benefits in this sort of trade?
>David Geering

In Birds of the World volume 4 there is a sensible discussion of these
issues in regard to parrots. The author makes the point that it is neither
moral nor realistic to expect the extremely poor inhabitants of south east
asian, africa and south america to forgo one of their few sources of
overseas currency, so argues for putting this trade on a sound ecological
basis by establishing sustainable baselines. After all, there are some
species of parrots that exist in large numbers, with high reproductive
rates and large natural juvenile mortalities. In principle such species
could be harvested sustainably, and if that were done it would give the
inhabitants an economic stake in the preservation of natural habitat. It is
surely true in these poor areas that unless the locals have such a stake,
the prospects for habitat preservation are not good, whatever the notional
boundaries of national parks may be. I do not think any of these
considerations apply to rich countries like Australia, but Australia may be
just about the only first world country in which the issue arises.


Kim Sterelny
Victoria University of Wellington
PO Box 600, Wellington
New Zealand

phone: 64/(0)4/4721-000
Fax: 64/(0)4/495-5130

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