Australian Bustard Decline (Kimberley)

Subject: Australian Bustard Decline (Kimberley)
Date: Sat, 10 Mar 2001 11:12:14 +0800
I have spent quite a lot of time in the Kimberley since late 1988.  The
highest numbers that I have seen have been about 10 on a freshly ploughed
irrigated paddock at Kununurra; about 5 near the Argyle Diamond Mine near
the south end of Lake Argyle; about 5 at the back of the Broome Bird

At Argyle, we have a designated mining lease with very restricted access.
However the local aboriginal elders are permitted on the lease at any time,
and they are permitted to catch (i.e. shoot) bustards.  My understanding is
that this is only for special ceremonies, plus they have cross cultural
courses where about 10 people camp out for a night to learn about the local
history, and a bustard or a wallaby is usually taken for the main meal.

I can't say whether numbers have declined locally, but they are reported to
me nearly every commute.  The highest number reported to me is 15.  So they
certainly are not in the numbers of 70 to 100 mentioned by Matthew.

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