Re: Wildlife Harvesting; Wildlife Export

Subject: Re: Wildlife Harvesting; Wildlife Export
From: Steve Murphy <>
Date: Fri, 7 Aug 1998 08:58:01 +1000 (EST)
Syd Curtis writes:
>But we will still have removed the same numbers (or more) from the wild.
>So how does that help the birds?
>A more persuasive, but still flawed, argument is that Australia should
>allow the export of some common species and especially those involved in
>crop damage such as Sulphur-crested Cockatoos.  This, it is argued, would
>substantially reduce the market price overseas thereby reducing the
>incentive for the illegal trapping and export of them.
>But it must be realised that while it might indeed reduce the trapping
>pressure on those common species, it would simply cause the smugglers to
>concentrate their activites on the rarer species which are less able to
>stand the pressure.

I should clarify the point I was trying to make...

For some species (not just birds) it would be possible to satiate a
poacher-driven market by harvesting so-called excess prodution - i.e. those
individuals which are produced but usually fall by the wayside because of
ecological factors. I don't know of any examples of this which involve
threatened species, but the same principle applies to the large scale
harvest of at least three macropod species throughout Australia.

The other scenario is to harvest an initial founder population (and
genetically 'barcode' them) for propagation in captivity (i.e. like the
Wollemi pine). This does have problems though, as has already been pointed
out. i.e. the propagation expertise for many rare and threatened species is

 Steve Murphy
 Division of Botany and Zoology
 Australian National University
 Canberra ACT Australia 0200
 Ph 02 62494074                

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