Invasive Bird Poll - and real threats

Subject: Invasive Bird Poll - and real threats
From: Andrew Taylor <>
Date: Thu, 5 May 2005 10:15:29 +1000
On Wed, May 04, 2005 at 11:52:42AM +0800, Chris Sanderson wrote:
> You guys say you're not against importing "harmless" birds or plants,

Actually I said African Grey Parrot were much less of a potential threat
to the Australian environment than Monk Parakeets.  But I don't have
any objection to adding one more African Grey Parrot to the captive
Australian population.  Any (additional) risk to the environment is
very small, it may not be zero but this is true of anything with do.

If you'd object to the African Grey Parrot, would you also prevent Sydney
pet store selling a (captive-bred) Gouldian Finch?  They aren't native
to the Sydney region.

I have absolutely no interest in keeping captive birds but I don't believe
there are strong arguments for a complete prohibition on the keeping of
captive species which don't have native/feral populations in the area
where they are kept.

I, and I expect your ecology lecturer, do believe life history
characteristics give us considerable insight into the threat a species
poses.  For example, compare the ecological characteristics of the Indian
Mongoose and the Giant Panda.  I think they indicate major differences
between the likelihoods of these species establishing harmful feral
populations in Australia.

I do have serious concern that other species (parasites and micro-organisms)
might be conveyed with the African Grey Parrot.  I don't know enough
about quarantine procedures and their efficacy to have any understanding
of the risks.

> Where is there left for the Rabbit to invade? 

I'm not sure if this a rhetorical question, but rabbits are absent from
the Top End.  I've been told in the NT they reach Larrimah during good
seasons but there limit is normally near Tennant Creek.  Presumably
climate change will see this limit move south in coming decades.

The Atherton Tableland must be near the limit of rabbit range in northern
Queensland, if so you'd expect their density to fluctuate with weather,
disease, etc.  An increase need not indicate any adaption to rainforest.
Another possible explanation for an increase would be increases in human
vegetation modification and fragmentation.

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