Re: Blackall Range Albert Lyrebird

Subject: Re: Blackall Range Albert Lyrebird
Date: Thu, 18 Sep 2003 13:38:00 +1000

Andrew wrote " Reintroducing the Albert lyrebird to any area they were quite recently driven from is a far cry from introducing a South American toad species to help with pest control, isn't it?  What do other members think?   Is "paralysis by analysis" a problem in today's conservation work?"

The first point Andrew makes obviously goes without question but it really is a gross oversimplification.  If a species has recently become locally extinct then you must consider why.  Will reintroducing the species merely result in these new birds going the way of the previous population?  Consider also that the previous population had a far greater degree of experience in the area than any new birds will have.  If they didn't survive what chance the new birds?

If the threatening process has been adequately addressed then you can move onto the next stage.  What is the rationale behind establishing a new population - is the species in danger of extinction due to catastrophic events threatening existing populations?  Where are the birds for the new population being sourced?  Will this removal place undue pressure on the source population?  Do the birds have the skills to survive in an unfamiliar area?  Will they stay in the area once they are introduced?  

"Paralysis by analysis" is an interesting phrase.  I really don't think this is happening.  What is reducing the effectiveness of conservation, and associated research (for some a very dirty word), in this country is the extremely limited funding available!

Reintroduction is an fascinating area and there has been a lot of work on a range of species overseas.  In Australia there has been ground-breaking reintroductions of Black-eared Miners recently.  Other releases of a range of captive-bred species such as Orange-bellied Parrot, Helmeted Honeyeater, Malleefowl and Regent Honeyeater, to name a few, have also occurred.  I was integrally involved in the latter.

It's not as simply as getting young birds from location A and releasing them into location B.  How I wish it were!  I realise that this Lyrebird discussion is hypothetical but we should think about just what the pitfalls might be.

Cheers (trying very hard not to be a wet blanket)

David Geering
Regent Honeyeater Recovery Coordinator
NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service
P.O. Box 2111
Dubbo  NSW  2830
Ph: 02 6883 5335 or Freecall 1800 621 056
Fax: 02 6884 9382

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