Subject: Feathers
From: Laurie & Leanne Knight <>
Date: Thu, 21 Jun 2001 18:58:30 +1000
> Like in Victoria, it is an offence in NSW to be in possession of feathers of 
> native birds unless a licence has been obtained under the NSW National Parks 
> and Wildlife Act, 1974 to authorise their possession.  Under the NPW Act the 
> definition of "bird" includes both living and dead specimens, the eggs, the 
> skin, feathers or any other part of a bird.  The purpose is to guard against 
> the intentional destruction of birds to meet varied cultural and market 
> demands.

G'day Jeff, 

It's one of those tricky areas, given that most people don't know about
the legislation and are probably more likely to be hit by lightning than
pinged for being in possession of feathers.  I'm not sure how many birds
that would otherwise be intentially destroyed are saved as a result of
the legislation.  You mention cultural demands, but I suspect that
indigenous Australians would probably have an exemption in many cases
from such legislation given their rights to take wildlife for cultural
purposes.  I'm not sure what the status of the supply of feathers
arising from the mutton bird industry is.

I also wonder what the legislative hang ups are in relation to the
collection of feathers for identification purposes - eg say someone
finds what they suspect to be a dead night parrot [no offence penne
gwenne] out the back of whoop whoop - are they commiting an offence if
they collect it and present it to a museum when they get back to
civilisation?  What if someone sends a feather to BARC to back up their
claimed sighting?

I agree that there is little problem with the legislative approach with
the possession of eggs, but the situation with feathers does have
negative consequences.

Perhaps the practical policy approach is a version of Bill Clinton's
"don't ask, don't tell".

Regards, Laurie.
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