Qld Eastern Bristlebird Breeding Program Axed

To: <>, <>
Subject: Qld Eastern Bristlebird Breeding Program Axed
From: inger vandyke <>
Date: Wed, 10 Jun 2009 02:28:34 +0000
Hi All,
As the writer of the feature article that was plastered all over the background 
of Wildlife Australia's Offices during the interview with Des Boyland in this 
piece, I feel compelled to respond to this particular thread.
Currently I have a piece in WAM about the success of the captive breeding 
program of the Victorian race of the Brush-tailed Rock Wallaby (Petrogale 
>From someone who has seen a project like this run from inception to fruition, 
>I found it quite difficult to examine the rationale behind the axing of a 
>similar style of project involving the Eastern Bristlebird in Queensland.
As I understood it, the Queensland Government is short of funds and rather than 
completing the captive breeding program for the EBB, they are putting the money 
into habitat restoration.  This black and white response, to me at least, fails 
to address the complete range of options available to groups wishing to save 
species from sliding on to our extinction lists.  Or perhaps they did research 
on other options and this simply wasn't reported?
In Victoria, the success of the captive breeding program for the rock wallabies 
hinged on both government and private sector participation for finance and 
human resources.  The DEC in Victoria decided to engage "voluntourism" groups 
in the Grampians (Conservation Volunteers Australia) to assist rangers in 
rehabilitating vast tracts of land via small mammal monitoring, fox baiting and 
sand pads in a multi-pronged effort to secure the landscape before captive bred 
rock wallabies were released into the wild.  While this was going on, staff at 
Healesville Sanctuary, the Adelaide Zoo and Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve worked 
tirelessly to breed up suitable numbers of animals and obtaining the right mix 
of genetics in a population of captive bred animals so that the species could 
be re-introduced back into the Grampians.  It was a gargantuan effort which 
has, to date been successful with the release of ten radio-tracked animals into 
the wild in November 2008.
>From a zoo perspective, I feel that a portion of the profits they obtain from 
>visitors should go back into projects like this - as a beneficial gesture to 
>the animals that made them money in the first place.  As facilities, they are 
>the last hope for some animals and with skilled staff, resources and the 
>ability to educate the public at their fingertips, they should be encouraged 
>to participate in projects like the EBB breeding program.
It is very easy to slide into the mode of complaining about the government not 
spending taxpayer money on this, or misspending it on that.  I too have fallen 
into this trap on many occasions.  Particularly in Australia as our levels of 
government respond so poorly to conservation or environment projects when it 
comes to spending.
However the true solution in keeping projects like the Eastern Bristlebird 
breeding program going is to engage the greater community with public education 
programs, conservation volunteering groups to assist with habitat restoration 
through 'responsible tourism' projects and the commitment of veterinarian and 
zoological experts to continue with such a project.  It's a win/win if you 
manage to coordinate a group like this and an incredible marketing tool for the 
individuals involved.
Rather than complaining about where money is or isn't being spent, I feel we 
would all gain from finding a solution by other means than simply relying on 
the government with their limited resources to see a project like this through 
to success.

Inger Vandyke

Natural History Writer and Photographer

Publicity Officer - Southern Oceans Seabird Study Association (SOSSA)

Mob:  0402 286 437

> Date: Wed, 10 Jun 2009 10:34:45 +1000
> From: 
> To: 
> Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] Qld Eastern Bristlebird Breeding Program Axed
> CC: 
> It costs more than a few dollars to send a fully equipped climate
> research ship on an extended cruise to the Antarctic.  Just one of many
> new environmental priorities that the taxpayer is funding and the money
> has to come from somewhere.  Considering the economic recession,
> national debt and total conservation dollars available, it is apparent
> now that if the environmental subject does not directly relate to
> exciting climate change research or water allocation, money will be hard
> to find in future.
> cheers
> Ian May
> St Helens, Tasmania
> L&L Knight wrote:
>> There was some very nice footage of a singing EBB in the segment.
>> On 08/06/2009, at 8:10 PM, Carl Clifford wrote:
>>> Dear All,
>>> On the ABC's 7.30 Report tonight there was an interesting item. The
>>> Queensland, government in it's wisdom, has cancelled it's captive 
>>> breeding program for the Eastern Bristlebird. It seems that the poor
>>> old Bristlebird is a victim of the global economic downturn. The Qld
>>> Government's line is that it is better to concentrate on habitat
>>> conservation and let the BB fend for itself. John Young appeared on
>>> the segment and spoke out strongly against the cancellation.
>>> The segment can be viewed at
>>> Carl Clifford
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