the walk of shame for Orange-bellied Parrots

To: <>, <>, <>
Subject: the walk of shame for Orange-bellied Parrots
From: Simon Mustoe <>
Date: Sat, 24 Jul 2010 01:59:56 +0000

I have made a minor change. The sentence as it stood however, was about what I 
was 'wondering' while I
watched Stateline. In other words, the basis for what I was 'wondering' was the 
Stateline report. I think there was
mention of numbers of birds (roughly half) but I've re-looked and near the 
start, figures of a third
were used. The precise figure is irrelevant really. However you look at it, and 
however it is done, removing wild birds (young or otherwise) is a big risk.

I could and can make a very strong scientific case, with appropriate references 
for the extinction risk this entails for a bird with such a small population 
but what's the point? The article's not
about the statistics or population biology of OBP, or the risk and consequence 
of action / inaction. Neither do we need anyone to tell us this. It's about 
whether we
 have the political will, motivation and ultimately funding, to make
this work. The recovery team are after all, human beings like the rest
of us, and the 'science' is always going to be uncertain and prone to 
difficulties. What will make the difference in this case, is whether we have 
the resources to adapt quickly and respond to difficulties. If the money and 
political will to save OBP runs out just as we are reaching a critical point 
(as we are now), then everything the recovery team has done in the past will 
have been for nothing.

I have suggested elaborating in the comments section below the
 article - that would have been very useful. I would also have answered the 
question about what I was 'wondering' rather than just stating it was 
"inaccurate and unhelpful" - I still don't have the answer. The strange thing 
is, none of this alters the article's intention. It is not what the article was 
about and certainly not the way it has been read by others.

What follows is my personal view and would never appear on Bird-O. Bird-O's 
about birding and birds. It's about how much we love birds and so, articles 
like this, speak about the disappointment, regret, concern, anxiety and genuine 
heartfelt sadness we feel to think this bird might be extinct by next year.

The way I see it (personally), the recovery team could make the following 
choices in the event of any further publicity regarding OBP:

1. They can criticise individuals who have a heart-felt and genuine concern for 
the future of this bird ... OR ... they can embrace that concern and agree with 
the sentiment, using it as extra fuel in their efforts to gain widespread 
support for what they are doing.
2. They can use opinion pieces as a platform for promoting further debate and 
awareness of the birds and the work they are doing ... OR ... they can try to 
silence anyone who wants such debate (as in this case, the request to remove 
the piece from the web - I don't need to explain the issues behind that kind of 
3. They can use these kinds of forums as a way to measure the level of public 
support they would have, and maybe lobby people to write to their MPs (we have 
an election coming up, after all) ... OR ... they can choose not to engage with 
the community who support them and leave the liaison with power-brokers to 
themselves and close colleagues.

Personally, I would engage heavily with the community and embrace our concern. 
We all care greatly for the future of this bird and maybe, such genuine 
commitment could be turned into something more powerful. We might even find 
that there are far more people out there who care, than is currently obvious.

I am not going to make any more changes to the article as it detracts from the 
real problem. I am hoping that those who speak on behalf of the recovery team, 
can make good use of the energy and passion that we all have for OBP. I would 
love to follow this article up with further information about the species' 
recovery and keep reminding everyone how important it is. And I will keep doing 
this as long as it still exists and there is even a chance we can do something 
about it. But equally, I am not about to sit quietly and let it go extinct 
without voicing my feelings about that.

I thank you for your kind words about the importance of raising this again. 
Let's keep up the good recovery work but also keep up the publicity and support 
for it.


Simon Mustoe.

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